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Self-Driving Cars and Auto Accidents By Lynn Harris on September 24, 2020

Although self-driving cars are still a new technology, they have already made headlines with terrible auto accidents. When someone is injured or killed in an auto accident involving self-driving cars, it can be difficult to know where liability for the accident lies. Car accident attorney Lynn C. Harris can assist accident victims in Salt Lake City, UT, and Provo, UT, and surrounding areas in determining accident liability so that they can be compensated for their damages.

Can Self-Driving Cars Prevent Accidents?

The major selling point of self-driving cars is that they can be programmed to drive better than humans, thus preventing accidents. However, a new study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests otherwise.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, had researchers examine more than 5,000 police-reported crashes. Looking at the cause of these crashes, they separated them into five categories of driver-related factors:

  1. Sensing and perceiving
  2. Predicting
  3. Planning and deciding
  4. Execution and performance
  5. Incapacitation

Considering the causes of these crashes, researchers predict that self-driving cars could only be expected to avoid the crashes caused by perception errors or incapacitated drivers. They base this prediction on the fact that the self-driving cars have sensors and cameras that are capable of autonomously monitoring the roadway.

The major conclusion of this study was that car accidents caused by sensing and perception, or an incapacitated driver, only accounted for about a third of police-reported crashes. So although self-driving cars may be promoted as a way to stop crashes, this study suggests that even if all vehicles on the road were self-driving, accidents would still occur.

Self-Driving Cars and Accident Damages

Like any other type of auto accident, those involving self-driving cars can be highly damaging. A lawsuit involving a self-driving car accident could potentially win a plaintiff damages for personal injuries, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

Who Is At-Fault for Accidents Involving Self-driving Cars?

Since self-driving cars are a new technology, current auto accident liability laws do not take them into account. Currently, self-driving cars are expected to have a driver behind the wheel, and they need to be prepared to take over and control the vehicle to avoid a collision. For the most part, it can be assumed that if a self-driving car is involved in an accident that they are the cause of, the driver of the vehicle can be held liable.

One exception to driver liability would be a vehicle malfunction. If there is evidence that a defective part was the cause of a self-driving car accident, the parts manufacturer could be held liable for accident damages. However, self-driving cars often have complex electrical systems consisting of parts from many manufacturers, so determining liability for a defect could be tricky.

Car accident attorney Lynn C. Harris has a thorough understanding of auto accident liability. Whether an accident was caused by a driver or a vehicle defect, he gathers the evidence necessary to demonstrate liability and hold parties accountable so that his Salt Lake City clients get the compensation they are due for damages.

Contact Us

If you have been injured in a car accident, attorney Lynn C. Harris can prove invaluable in maximizing your compensation for accident damages. To discuss the details of your accident and find out if you have grounds for a personal injury case, send us a message online or call (801) 521-3200 at your earliest convenience.

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Lynn C. Harris

Lynn C. Harris

Lynn Harris is a personal injury attorney dedicated to helping victims rebuild their lives. He does not collect compensation unless you do. Mr. Harris is part of the Jones Waldo law firm, which has five locations in four cities in Utah:

  • Park City
  • St. George
  • Salt Lake City
  • Provo

He can arrange to meet you at the location nearest you. If you or a loved one has been injured, reach out to our firm online or call (801) 375-9801 today.

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