Establishing liability presents intricate challenges in fully autonomous self-driving car accidents, significantly when injured in a self-driving vehicle crash. While fully autonomous vehicles remain beyond public reach for most, numerous automobiles boast automated driver adjust systems (ADAS), with complete automation occurring with a mere software update. A seasoned self-driving car accident attorney can be an indispensable asset when these accidents transpire. Recently, the California DMV asked Silicon Valley for fewer self-driving cars on the road after a self-driving vehicle got into a crash with a fire truck. So this is not idle thinking by car accident lawyers looking for a personal injury contingency fee.
Within the corridors of Ehline Law, we stand poised and primed to navigate the treacherous terrain of any accident involving self-driving cars across California cities like Los Angeles and Texas locales like Houston. We have recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients. Our proficiency spans the technical nuances and legal intricacies inherent to mishaps involving self-driving vehicles. Our top self-driving car accident lawyer, Michael Ehline, wields the expertise to hold all responsible parties accountable in the snare of justice. Whether rooted in technical anomalies or lapses in human control, your injuries stemming from the self-driving vehicle collision warrant compensation of the highest order.
We invite you or a family member to reach out to our establishment for a free initial consultation without delay, to discover the full extent of our aid involving cars gone wild due to a faulty automated driving system, etc. If you select us, our attorneys will handle all the details of your claim in Los Angeles to win justice on your behalf. Southern California accident victims can receive a free consultation to go over what to say to the insurance company and collect and analyze basic information at (213) 596-9642 today. Also, we make it easy, as we charge nothing up front to assess your situation. In addition, our lawyers are standing by 24/7 to talk with you and get working on solutions.
How Do Self-Driving Cars Work?
Google and their competitor, Tesla Vehicles, have led the way to take over your daily driving tasks. Like many delivery drones and delivery robots, autonomous vehicles use several technological components, including sensors and GPS, that continuously gather information that could arguably invade your right to privacy.
In autonomous driving, the car’s computer processes data, and AI makes decisions for vehicle navigation.
Automated cars utilize diverse sensors:
- Ultrasonic sensors detect obstacles using sound waves
- Radar sensors emit radio waves to monitor surrounding vehicles
- LiDAR sensors use lasers for obstacle distance and 3D mapping
- Cameras capture the environment and read traffic signals.
Radar gauges object properties (size, distance, etc.) via radio wave reflection, particularly cars. Ultrasonic sensors locate objects with sound waves to protect the occupants, as well as the public at large. Operators must be able to regain complete control over brakes, accelerators, and steering as well. Failure to regain full control during emergencies can mean the actual test driver is held responsible for the crash, but not always, as discussed below.
Main Types of Driverless Automation
The Society of Automotive Engineers International (SAE) describes six levels of driverless automation. Below, we will focus on the three main ones to help you understand generally, as follows:
- Level 0: Not Autonomous (Human Control): The vehicle is not considered automated. Human drivers are entirely responsible for controlling and operating the vehicle.
Characteristics: The vehicle lacks any automated driving features for any aspects of driving, including steering, accelerating, braking, and other functions.
Example: Traditional vehicles without any advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
- Level 1: Driver Assistance: These vehicles offer assistance with specific functions, such as steering, accelerating, or braking. But the driver remains primarily in control of everything.
Characteristics: The vehicle can assist the driver with either steering, accelerating, or braking, but not all three simultaneously. The driver must still actively monitor and control the vehicle’s operations.
Example: Cars equipped with adaptive cruise control or lane-keeping assist.
- Level 2: Partial Automation: These cars have advanced driver assistance systems that simultaneously control steering and acceleration under certain conditions.
Characteristics: The vehicle can manage steering and acceleration within specific scenarios, such as highway driving. However, the driver must remain engaged and attentive, ready to take control at any moment.
Example: Vehicles with features like Tesla’s Autopilot or GM’s Super Cruise.
Regulations of Self-Driving Cars
Per California Vehicle Code 38750, self-driving vehicles must feature a safety alert system to notify operators of technology failures. Several states have also adopted regulations, but no federal law regulates driverless vehicles for civilians.
Previous Cases of Self-Driving Car Accidents
These incidents have in fact once again put the spotlight on the ongoing debate surrounding the integration of automated technology on our roads.
1. 2016 Tesla Autopilot Collision with a 16-Wheeled Vehicle
In a startling incident, a 2016 driverless Tesla vehicle collided with a massive 16-wheeled commercial vehicle, placing its autopilot program at risk.
2. High-Speed Crash Involving a 2018 Electric Motor Vehicle
Another accident involving a 2018 electric motor vehicle unfolded on a bustling highway. The electric car, purportedly operating in a self-driving mode, reportedly traveled at speeds reaching 80 mph when the accident occurred.
3. Incident Involving a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt
Adding to the growing list of these auto accidents is a report involving a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt. The details surrounding this incident are still emerging, leaving many to speculate about the underlying causes of these auto accident cases. As the state motoring laws are all over the map and evolving, most patients rely on negligence law to prove who must pay and for what to obtain proper compensation.
4. Navy Seal Killed in 2016
The crash occurred in May when the Tesla collided with a tractor-trailer truck in Williston, Florida.
Other Automated Car Troubles
Social media has reported vast instances of criminals and tagger spray painting, vandalizing, and even turning off Google Maps cars. This has the effect of traffic stoppage and can even prevent emergency medical services from assisting victims. As we learn more about cashless bail and rising crime, experts warn that those traveling in Downtown Los Angeles and San Francisco are at grave risk until these cars are safer. Still, others wonder if improvements in this tech could bankrupt personal injury attorneys.
Who Is At Fault For Self-Driving Car Accidents in Los Angeles, CA?
We all know in private vehicles, it’s mainly the driver’s responsibility to safely get you or your family from point A to point B. A distracted or drunk driver is usually held liable for human error and recklessness, both criminally and civilly. With non-human drivers in driverless cars with self-driving technology on board, many responsible parties could be hooked.
The entities potentially held liable by our law firm for a self-driving car accident encompass:
- The vehicle operator
- The vehicle manufacturer
- The producer of a flawed automotive component
- Additional entities within the vehicle’s distribution network (such as dealerships or part manufacturers)
- Third parties are beyond the vehicle’s direct control. (like vehicle repair shops).
The Drivers of Self-Driving Cars?
In the present landscape, most are endowed solely with partial driving automation. This limited automation governs functions like steering, acceleration, and deceleration. But this tech mandates the driver’s vigilant presence and readiness to seize control at any juncture, ensuring culpability for collisions to the driver, not the people behind the technology.
The research underscores that, despite the automated capabilities, human intervention remains the predominant catalyst for most crashes. Furthermore, when drivers excessively rely on mechanical driver assist systems (ADAS) rather than experience, times can get tricky. If a driver takes their eyes off the road, it can hinder their swift responsiveness to dynamic routes and difficult weather conditions. Even a split-second distraction can culminate in bad accidents.
The Autonomous Vehicle Manufacturer
Diverging from conventional car accident claims grounded in driver negligence, cases involving autonomous vehicles often pivot toward product liability. Within California’s legal framework, independent vehicle manufacturers stand susceptible to strict liability for severe and fatal injuries stemming from vehicle flaws.
In establishing a viable claim, the burden is reduced to demonstrating two pivotal aspects:
- The vehicle’s inherent defect
- The defect’s causal role in precipitating the car accident.
Nonetheless, instances wherein driver negligence and vehicular defects intertwine to create or generate an accident—such as instances where a driver is inattentive and the car malfunction—usher in shared legal responsibility between the injured party, the driver, and the autonomous car manufacturer.
The Manufacturer of a Defective Vehicle Component
In the intricate realm of vehicle production, manufacturers commonly procure components from external entities, encompassing technological facets like autonomous driver assistance systems. A legal avenue may emerge if you find yourself injured in the aftermath of a collision linked to a vehicle employing technology sourced from an external third party. This avenue could involve pursuing a claim against the vehicle manufacturer and the implicated third-party hardware or software company.
Other Companies in the Vehicle’s Chain of Distribution
The tenets of product liability extend their reach across the entire spectrum of entities engaged in a vehicle’s distribution chain, tainted by the specter of a defect. Consequently, individuals grappling with the aftermath of a self-driving car accident possess the potential to initiate a legal claim encompassing multiple fronts. Within this framework, potential litigants can target not only the dealership and vehicle manufacturer but also the component manufacturer, alongside an array of other pertinent companies.
Deciphering the echelons of guilt, each entity assumes could hinge upon the contractual underpinnings governing their interactions, delineating proportions of liability assigned to respective parties. Injury victims remain entitled to reparations—a right safeguarded against the intricate interplay of interests among the number of companies implicated.
What About Third Party Claims?
Questions of deep pockets to pay often arise when someone is injured in a car accident. The spotlight extends beyond defects, casting light on poor vehicle maintenance. Regardless of a vehicle’s intrinsic soundness, faulty upkeep may cause such mishaps. A legal paradigm emerges if the repairs were executed by an independent repair shop or entrusted to the dealership by the vehicle’s owner. Within this paradigm, injury victims remain enshrined with the right to reparation for their losses if negligent repair assumes culpability.
Moreover, if lackluster road construction or negligence-marred road repairs are the reason, governmental agencies and contractors could share all or a percentage of the fault. Within this expansive framework, the government agency overseeing the roads and the contractor involved share the liability burden.
How Ehline Law Can Help
The allure of self-driving cars comes with the idea of better safety compared to their manual counterparts. But these are often etched in the statistics furnished by manufacturers. The evidence is the evolving landscape of autonomous vehicle accidents increasing in frequency. Our adept self-driving car accident attorneys are experts in the matter, facilitating the pursuit of just compensation to the advantage of affected clients.
Our proficient legal team shoulders the burden of claim intricacies, addressing a comprehensive spectrum of tasks as follows:
- Launching a meticulous incident inquiry
- Procuring, scrutinizing, and thoroughly analyzing police reports
- Unearthing and engaging in conversations with first-hand witnesses
- Acquiring technical data extracted from the involved vehicle black box and computers
- Enforcing court subpoenas to extract safety records from the Manufacturer’s archives and hard drives.
Though most Los Angeles self-driving car accident claims are settled outside the courtroom, our preparedness transcends settlements. We stand poised to escalate the battle to a full-blown jury trial if necessary. We can hold your hand and shepherd your case moving forward through the labyrinthine of deplorable insurance companies and third-party defense attorneys. Success is the primary goal here, and success means helping each injured person recover the most from the party most at blame.
Foremost in our fight, we determine and tally other types and costs of damages, including:
- Medical expenses and expenses tied to rehabilitation
- Reclamation of lost wages
- A void or loss of future earnings
- Alleviation of pain and suffering
- Mitigation of and compensation for suffering emotional distress
- Recognition of enduring disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life’s pleasures. (essential for a good life.)
Your trust in us is warranted as we orchestrate a harmonious journey through time at each process stage. Our steadfast commitment ensures the safeguarding of your rights, assuring you a formidable ally in pursuing justice in a sea of laws and uncertainty.
Was your loved one killed or seriously wounded in an automated car crash resulting in a wrongful death? Do you have a question about what your case is worth? Navigating the intricate labyrinth of assigning liability to self-driving accidents is complex. Additionally, multiple parties could bear the legal responsibility for plaintiffs’ losses. Against this backdrop, we recognize that our indomitable representation may become a cornerstone in your pursuit of maximum financial compensation against those parties who caused the accident.
For years, our prowess has extended as a protective mantle defense against significant personal injury claims. We built our reputation on complimentary consultations and dialogue without financial constraints. Rest assured. We get only paid our “contingency fee” if we obtain a successful recovery on your behalf. It would help if you reached out to us swiftly, so we can diligently unravel the intricacies of your claim before the statute of limitations to sue expires.
Additionally, we are ready to negotiate any settlement, or go to trial, since fighting is our default. We offer free consultations to discuss your legal options when you contact our office by website, email, or telephone at (213) 596-9642. Don’t procrastinate to schedule an appointment, as sleeping on your rights can mean giving up the compensation you deserve forever!