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The safety and legal liability of driverless automobiles made national headlines recently after a motorcyclist was hit and injured by a driverless Chevrolet Bolt EV, according to Auto Evolution.
According to the accident report, the Bolt EV was driving in the center of a three-lane street in front of a motorcyclist operating a Honda S90 motorcycle. The driverless vehicle attempted to change lanes to go into the left lane. The Bolt wound up bumping the motorcyclist, causing him to fall off his motorcycle.
As a result of the collision, the motorcyclist suffered injuries to his neck and shoulder and required him to take an extended leave from his job.
Liability in an Accident Involving a Self-Driving Car
When two vehicles collide, the assessment of liability is typically based on how each driver involved in the collision was operating his or her vehicle at the time and whether the drivers breached their duty of care. The concepts of duty of care, breach, proximate causation, and damages have developed over many years through statutory law, regulations, and case law.
Given the cutting-edge technology of driverless automobiles, we do not yet have specific laws and regulations concerning driverless cars and civil legal liability.
Attempting to assess liability in these situations can become quite complex because there may have been an issue with the automobile’s software. If that is the case, then liability may extend to the software developer. If, on the other hand, the hardware was defective, the vehicle manufacturer could be held liable. In other circumstances, the individual occupying the driverless vehicle may still be negligent. For example, many driverless cars still require that someone be in the driver’s seat and have his or her hands on the steering wheel. If the “driver” of the other vehicle failed to do this, he or she may be liable for negligent conduct.
Safety of Driverless Automobiles
A majority of drivers who took a recent survey indicated that they would feel safe in a self-driving automobile, as long as the self-driving vehicle has a sterling safety record with no reported accidents. The auto companies developing this technology tout that, once self-driving vehicles become the norm, most automobile collisions will be eradicated and roads and highways will be significantly safer.
This is a lofty and admirable goal. Nevertheless, we are not there yet, and it is quite unlikely that all automobile accidents will be avoided if everyone owned a driverless vehicle. Wrecks are bound to happen, and when they do, you should have an experienced and skilled River Falls car accident lawyer there to help you pursue financial restitution for your harms and losses.
A car accident injury claim, whether it is against the driver’s insurance company, or a software company or auto manufacturer, allows you to seek monetary damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact an Experienced River Falls Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a family member is involved in an accident caused by a self-driving vehicle, contact the experienced Wisconsin car accident lawyers of Bye, Goff & Rohde today to schedule a free, confidential case review.