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Self-Driving Car Accident Injuries
Self-Driving Car Industry – Unregulated & Lacking Safety Standards
The autonomous or self-driving car industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. It is only a matter of time before fully self-driving cars dominate the roadways. The technology is relatively new – in 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued the Automated Driving Systems guidance, which is updated each year.
However on a federal level, legislation is lacking, leaving regulation up to the states. Currently, the federal government doesn’t require self-driving car manufacturers and companies to report how their developing cars perform in safety tests. The self-driving car industry remains largely unregulated, and the lack of recognized standards means that safety is up to for-profit companies like Tesla.
Self-driving car accident and injury cases accepted in New Jersey and Pennsylvania (Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County). Call for a FREE consultation. (610) 825-0500
Self-Driving Car Accident & Injury Lawsuits
The Morris Wilson Knepp Jacquette law firm is currently investigating self-driving cars and driver-assist systems and technologies for possible product injury claims. If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to a self-driving car accident, please contact our firm for a free consultation. 610-825-0500
Related Automotive Product Injury Case Result: Our law firm obtained a $20 million settlement in a defective product injury case involving the tragic deaths of four family members and severe injuries to another individual after a carjacked vehicle struck the family of pedestrians.
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Levels of Automation
There are multiple levels of automation. On the most basic level, the driver controls the vehicle, but with help from driver-assist technology like lane assist, adaptive cruise control or braking and accelerating. At the most advanced level, the driver is merely an occupant, and the automated driving system performs every function.
Self-Driving Cars & Safety Issues
Software and Technology Failures
According to a 2020 AAA study, cars equipped with driver-assist technologies experienced some type of issue an average of every 8 miles. Lane assist, acceleration, braking and steering resulted in the most serious issues.
AAA found difficulties with systems keeping cars in their lanes or coming too close to other cars or stationary objects, like guardrails. Separate from the AAA study, concerns have been raised whereby cars on autopilot mode have difficulty sensing emergency response vehicles.
The AAA study also found that systems which combine acceleration with braking and steering can disengage with little notice to the driver. It’s easy to envision a scenario where a driver becomes reliant on the system and fails to notice the system has disengaged, thus causing a car accident.
Fire Risk & Lithium-Ion Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries, which are often used in self-driving cars, are extremely dangerous. When damaged in a car accident, these batteries can cause extreme fires that reach over 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit and massive explosions that endanger occupants, first responders and bystanders.
Liability Issues for Self-Driving Cars & Systems
There have been fatalities and serious accidents across the country involving various models of self-driving cars including Tesla, Uber, etc. Given the lack of safety standards and laws, additional deaths and accidents are likely, and when lawsuits are filed, the usual principles of product liability law will apply.
Generally, product manufacturers and companies must make and sell products that are reasonably safe for their intended uses. Hence, companies can be held liable when self-driving or driver-assist technologies fail and cause injuries.
How to Prove a Self-Driving Car is Defective
- Defective design (the car, self-driving software, technology, etc., contained a design defect)
- Defective manufacture (an error occurred during manufacture that renders the product defective)
- Failure to warn (the manufacturer/company failed to warn the consumer about an unreasonable, foreseeable risk of harm)
Compensation for Self-Driving Car Accident Injuries
Parties injured in a self-driving car accident may include drivers, passengers, pedestrians, first responders and bystanders. In product injury lawsuits, injured parties can receive compensation for pain and suffering, lost pay, medical bills and other financial losses.
About Morris Wilson – Best Rated Law Firm
Morris Wilson Knepp Jacquette, P.C. is a personal injury law firm based in Montgomery County, PA. Our law firm has been recognized as a Best Law Firm by U.S. News & World Report since 2016 in the areas of Personal Injury Law and Medical Malpractice Law. We’re dedicated advocates who provide personal attention to our clients. Call us today at (610) 825-0500.
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