The technology for self-driving cars is now available and the number of people investing in these vehicles is quickly growing. However, that also means that the number of self-driving car accidents will also rise. Even though these vehicles are equipped with special accident-avoiding technology, this isn’t always foolproof and collisions can still occur.
Here’s information about self-driving auto collisions, how to avoid them, and what to do if you’ve been involved in an accident with a self-driving vehicle.
Self-Driving Cars: The Basics
Self-driving cars may seem like a futuristic fantasy, but the technology for these vehicles already exists and is being put into cars that are currently on the road. If you haven’t yet seen a self-driving car, chances are you will soon.
A self-driving vehicle is equipped with a sophisticated video system that records its surroundings, enabling the car to move to avoid collisions. However, this system can’t possibly be programmed for every single potential accident scenario. There’s also a chance that the system could fail.
This means that while a self-driving car can maneuver its way out of dangerous situations, it cannot be relied upon to do all of the work of driving. However, some owners allow the car to do exactly this and fail to pay adequate attention while driving.
How to Avoid Self-Driving Car Accidents
While accidents can occur at any time and without warning, there are some steps you can take to help avoid self-driving car accidents. If you own a self-driving vehicle, be sure to maintain awareness of your surroundings at all times and be prepared to manually take over driving the vehicle. Never sleep, play games, or otherwise use self-driving mode to engage in a distracting activity.
Other drivers on the road can also decrease the risk of collisions with a self-driving vehicle by obeying the law, driving an appropriate speed, and maintaining awareness of the traffic around them. Always check your side mirrors before merging with traffic, use your turn signals, and avoid driving aggressively.
What to Do After a Self-Driving Car Accident
Treat a self-driving motor vehicle accident just like you would any other. If possible, move your vehicle and any others off the road. If you or anyone else are injured, call 911 for emergency medical assistance.
In the event that you or someone else were injured but not severely enough to warrant a 911 call, it’s important that you go to the hospital for a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Having medical records of your injuries and treatment that you needed is imperative when filing an insurance or personal injury claim.
If no one was injured in the accident, you should contact the police. Either way, the police should respond to the scene of the incident and make a formal report about what happened. The report should include information about the self-driving vehicle, including its make, model, and any other pertinent data.
Who Is Liable for a Self-Driving Vehicle Collision?
It may be difficult to determine who is liable for a self-driving vehicle collision. Did the vehicle’s programming fail or was the accident the result of another driver’s negligent actions? The self-driving car’s video footage can often be used to determine how the accident occurred, along with other evidence like the location of the damage on each vehicle.
Potential at-fault parties in a self-driving car accident include the manufacturer of the vehicle, its driver, the other driver, the manufacturer of their vehicle, or potentially even the city or state where you live. Or, there may be more than one at-fault party.
For example, if the road did not have the appropriate signage for a self-driving car to pick up on, and a collision occurred, it’s possible that the fault for the accident would fall on the city or county responsible for maintaining roads in that area. Or, if a self-driving car failed to appropriately navigate a traffic situation and caused an accident, the car’s manufacturer may be the responsible party. A thorough investigation is necessary to identify one or more at-fault parties, after which financial restitution can be pursued.
Get Help from a NH & MA Car Accident Attorney Today
Because self-driving cars are so new, few accident lawyers have experience working these types of cases. However, the attorney you choose to represent you in a collision claim can have a significant impact on the overall outcome of your case. You need a legal team with expertise and a proven track record of success in order to obtain the full and fair compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical expenses, and lost wages.
At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we understand that the area of car accident law is shifting with new technology and we’re staying abreast of these changes. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us after a motor vehicle collision to discuss the possibility of compensation through an insurance claim or injury lawsuit. Call now for your consultation or to learn more by dialing (978) 744-8000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084.
Serving all of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Offices are located in Salem, MA.