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Legal Review: Determining Liability in Car Accidents Becomes More Difficult with Self-Driving Cars

By Personal Injury Attorney Dana Charback Sullivan of Commonwealth Law Group

When there is a car accident and someone becomes seriously injured, accident victims can file a claim against the liable party.

This claim can provide compensation for losses associated with the crash, such as medical expenses, lost income and more. In any car crash case, proving liability can be challenging. An investigation must be conducted and evidence must be collected, all to prove fault. Still, even with understanding who was at fault, it can still be difficult.

These challenges become even harder when one of the cars involved in a crash is a self-driving vehicle. Although some states require that a human being be present in the car to take physical control of it at any time, not every state has this requirement. For those that do, proving liability may be easier when the self-driving car caused a crash. The human being could be held to blame because they did not take control of the vehicle, or because they did but still acted negligently.

When there is no human driver, the case becomes even more difficult. Robots, including robotic vehicles, naturally cannot be held liable for providing compensation. The only entities that could be considered responsible are either the manufacturer, or the person that the vehicle was transporting at the time of the crash. For states that do not require that the individual be ready to take control at any moment though, that question would become even more complex.

More and more companies are starting to unroll their autonomous line of cars. The fact of the matter is though, our roads are just not ready for them. These vehicles are already causing many problems on the road. They are causing significant injuries and even fatalities. Until the manufacturers and government can impose limitations on them and determine how to deal with them, we are just not ready for more of them to hit the streets.

Until that happens, unfortunately, it is going to be very difficult for accident victims to claim the compensation they need. Although all car accidents require the help of an attorney, the experience of legal representation is particularly important in these cases.

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