Since about 2016, self-driving cars and other vehicles with varying levels of automated driving systems have been hitting the roads in cities throughout the country. Even “regular” cars are getting smarter; most new cars on the market today offer some level of automation that was not available even five years ago. But, these systems are not failproof on their own. Human error is still the culprit in most car accidents involving automated vehicles. If you have been hurt in a car accident where automation is involved, you will need an experienced attorney on your side to give you the best chance of recovering all the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Automated Vehicles
There is a wide range of technology that falls under the umbrella of “automation” when it comes to cars. The term refers to much more than just the truly driverless cars that many see as the future of transportation. Most “automated” cars you see on the roads still require some degree of human input and require a person to be in the driver’s seat and prepared to take over if necessary. It is unlikely, but not impossible, that you will step out of your vehicle after an accident to speak to the other driver only to find that there is no other driver—at least for now.
The more commonly available technology involves a car that is mostly driven by a human but with some automated processes. For example, a car may feature automatic parallel parking, crash avoidance systems, automatic braking when a bumper-mounted camera detects something in the vehicle’s path, or even automatic lane changing, where the human driver simply activates the turn signal and allows the car to merge on its own. The problem is that these technologies sometimes fail and cause accidents, leaving questions about who is liable to the injured party.
Who is Liable for Injuries Caused by Automation Failures?
When an accident occurs involving an automated vehicle or an automated feature on any type of vehicle, tracking down the liable party or parties can be difficult. Doing so is likely to require a complicated and fact-intensive analysis that is best left to an experienced law firm. The overall case will depend heavily on the degree of automation, whether a human driver acted negligently, and what type of error actually caused a particular accident.
If a truly driverless car runs a red light and t-bones another vehicle, that is a very different legal situation than a car striking a pedestrian while attempting to parallel park itself as the human driver checks his email. In the former case, the company that made the driverless car is likely to be liable, while in the latter case, the human driver is most likely liable because automation aside, the driver should have been paying attention and ready to brake if needed.
Call a Green Bay Car Accident Lawyer
The field of automation-related car accidents is still a very new field of law. If you were hurt in an accident involving a vehicle equipped with state-of-the-art automated features, you might feel as if there are more questions than answers. Call Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd. at 920-739-7366 for a free consultation to begin finding answers. In any car accident case, you must not wait too long to contact an attorney. Evidence from the scene of the crash needs to be collected quickly—before cleanup is completed and physical evidence is lost. Contact an experienced Appleton car crash injury attorney today so we can begin fighting to recover compensation for you.