Accidents with autonomous vehicles involve auto product liability. The movement toward autonomous vehicles (AV) has slowed down in the past year. Many experts point to the fatal accident in which an Uber test vehicle, with a person behind the wheel, struck and killed a pedestrian.
Uber and other companies slammed on the brakes for continued AV testing after that tragedy. But autonomous vehicles are here to stay, and testing by other companies continues. Last year attendees at the Florida Autonomous Vehicle Summit learned that a track for high-speed tests of driverless cars will be opening in Polk County this Spring.
Auto Product Liability remains a question
The promise of safer travel on our city streets and freeways remains an inspiration for proponents of autonomous vehicles. However, suspicions linger that accidents involving autonomous vehicles will continue to result in serious or even fatal injuries.
Perhaps the cause will be an improper decision made by the AV. Unexpected equipment failures happen with vehicles now, and are also likely to exist in an AV world. Auto product liability is always of great concern. Where will blame rest?
Those with legal experience in this area agree that there is no simple answer. Most legal observers believe that ultimately, when injury occurs, liability will attach to every person or entity responsible for the harm inflicted.
Those states that currently allow AV testing require autonomous vehicles to carry the same level of commercial insurance as vehicles driven by people. No one expects that requirement to change.
What insurers say will change is the way risk is assessed. Pricing on policies today is based on the record of the intended driver. In the case of driverless cars, the effective record will be that of the AV technology in use, and the credibility of the data behind that record.
Legal standards regarding accidents involving autonomous vehicles and determining proper liability remain largely untested, and that isn’t expected to change any time soon. When AV crashes occur, the companies that developed the technology tend to settle with victims in order to avoid setting an unfavorable precedent for their industry. Remember that victims should receive optimal recovery with the help of an experienced attorney. Reach out to VanNess & VanNess, P.A. if you are involved in a car accident, even if it is with an autonomous vehicle, and obtain legal advice from our experienced, resourceful attorneys.