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Who Do You Sue if You’re Hit by a Driverless Car?

Wouldn’t it be nice to put a location into your GPS, get behind the wheel of your car, and fall asleep as the car safely and effortlessly drives you there? You could wake up a few hours later completely refreshed. Travel would be a breeze.

Well, we’re getting there. It’s just taking a while. You’ve probably heard about Google’s recent tests out West of driverless cars. So far, the results have been good. The technology appears to be incredibly safe, but it’s also not yet perfect.

The First Driverless Car Accident

Though Google long touted the safety record of its driverless cars, in February the first accident involving one of these vehicles was reported in California. The SUV had to stop when it detected sandbags in its path. As the vehicle attempted to merge back into traffic, it struck a bus at low-speed. Google engineers say the automated car apparently thought the bus would slow down. Thankfully, no injuries were reported.

Who to Sue if There’s No Driver

Driverless cars pose a special problem for personal injury attorneys. Right now, if you’re hit by another driver, you can file a lawsuit and you sue the defendant for negligence. This requires  proving through statements and evidence that the defendant did not show you a reasonable duty of care, resulting in your injuries. This entire process depends on human involvement.

So while you might initially think that driverless cars means that there will be no more personal injury lawsuits in car accidents, that’s not the case. If anything, there may be more parties to sue than ever before.

Whether there was negligence that led to the accident will now move up the chain. Google, or whichever company manufactures automated driving software, could be sued for any faults in its design, particularly if it knew that it was releasing a program that was unsafe and did not care. Conceivably, the owner of the vehicle could still be sued as well if it appears that he or she tampered with or altered the vehicle in any way. If an occupant were to take control of an automated car just before a crash, this would certainly open them up to being a defendant.

And then there are still the manufacturers of any hardware or other vehicle parts. If another company makes a part that does not properly work with the software and the brakes of a vehicle, this company would also be a defendant.

So far, Google has pledged to defend against any lawsuits that arise out of incidents involving its driverless cars, but time will tell if it stands by this commitment as more automated vehicles take to the roads.

Hard-Working Car Accident Attorneys

It will still be many years before automated cars are on the roadways in large numbers, so we’re stuck with human drivers now for better or worse. If you’ve been injured by the negligence of another driver in Mississippi, you need an attorney on your side who will fight to get you the largest settlement or jury award possible. For more information, contact The Law Offices of Judy Guice in to speak with an attorney about your case.

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