I Got Hit by a Self-Driving Car: What Are My Legal Options?
If you are involved in a vehicle accident due to another party’s negligence, you’re typically entitled to compensation. However, determining liability can seem less clear when a self-driving car is at fault. While this issue once seemed like something exclusive to a work of science fiction, advancements in driverless technology have made this concern a reality for those in Florida.
We have explored the future of automobile accident liability before; today, we’ll take a deeper dive into what your legal options are if you’re hit by a self-driving car in the Sunshine State — and why having an experienced car accident lawyer serving Lakeland, Winter Haven, Tampa, FL, and beyond is crucial.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Self-Driving Car Accident?
To understand what legal options you have following an accident involving a self-driving car, you need to determine who — or what — is liable in the first place. Here are some of the ways legal liability could result in an accident:
Owner or Operator of the Vehicle
This may seem like a moot point initially. However, while these autonomous vehicles do most of the heavy lifting, the operator must stay alert and take control of the car when necessary. An owner or operator who gets in a car accident due to negligence, even with a fully autonomous vehicle, can still be held liable for damages.
Negligence can include failing to obtain necessary repairs or routine maintenance. Additionally, an owner of a self-driving car should use the vehicle only when it’s safe to do so. Weather conditions or other issues can make it unsafe to put the car on the road in the first place.
If a defect in or malfunction with the vehicle is the culprit of the accident involving an autonomous car, you could bring a claim against the vehicle’s manufacturer based on a “product liability” theory of fault. These sorts of cases involving driverless vehicles hone in on automated system design, the manufacturing process, and even inadequate instructions.
Driverless cars rely on software that collects and processes information about the immediate environment, using sensors, cameras, radar, and even artificial intelligence to operate on its own. If a defect with the software is the culprit of the crash, the developer may be responsible for damages.
File a Claim With the Help of Our Attorneys
If you or a loved one was hit by a self-driving car, we encourage you to reach out to our experienced car accident attorneys as soon as possible. These claims can be complex, especially when you consider how owners, manufacturers, software developers, and even maintenance professionals involved may push back — or even point the finger elsewhere— when it comes to fault.
Our car accident attorneys can work with you to determine what party is responsible and get the financial compensation you deserve. For more information about how our team can help you, reach out to us today for a free consultation at any one of our offices in Lakeland, Tampa, and Bartow, FL.