Why Self-Driving Cars Make for Complex Cases

by Staff Blogger | October 9th, 2023

The arrival of self-driving cars on Alameda’s roads is exciting and groundbreaking, with the hopes of making commutes safer and more efficient. However, this technological leap also ushers in challenges for legal systems. As responsibility shifts from human drivers to autonomous algorithms in the event of an accident, questions of liability become more difficult.

If you’re injured in a self-driving car collision, our Alameda self-driving car lawyers can help you navigate this challenging landscape and seek compensation from the liable party.

Causes of Self-Driving Car Accidents

Accidents involving self-driving cars are often the result of technological glitches, human intervention, and interactions with traditional vehicles.

  • Technological failures. While highly advanced, self-driving cars can still suffer technical malfunctions. Errors in sensors, cameras, or radar systems may disrupt their accurate interpretation of the environment. This can lead to incorrect decisions, misreading road conditions, and unexpected behaviors contributing to accidents.
  • Human intervention challenges. Changing from self- and human-driving modes in these vehicles can be difficult. Accidents can happen if the person behind the wheel isn’t paying attention or ready to take over. This is especially true if the self-driving system encounters challenging scenarios or misinterprets situations.
  • Interactions with conventional vehicles. Mixing self-driving cars with regular cars on the road can create unexpected challenges. Drivers may struggle to predict the actions of automated systems, leading to accidents. Similarly, self-driving cars may not always be programmed to anticipate the less predictable maneuvers of drivers, such as sudden lane changes or stopping.
  • Software bugs. The intricate software used for self-driving technology is complex. Software bugs can impact decision-making processes and sensor data interpretation, potentially leading to accidents.
  • Environmental influences. Self-driving cars rely heavily on sensors for perception. Adverse weather conditions like rain, snow, or fog, coupled with rapidly changing environments, can compromise sensor accuracy and pose challenges in interpreting the surroundings.

The Difficulties of Self-Driving Cars and Liability

With the shift from human drivers to autonomous systems, determining liability in an accident can be complicated, affecting the outcome of potential legal claims for victims. Possible liable parties in self-driving car accidents include:

  • Manufacturers. The companies developing and producing self-driving vehicles are responsible for ensuring the technology’s safety and reliability. The manufacturer might be held liable if a vehicle’s design or manufacturing process flaw contributes to an accident.
  • Software developers. The software and algorithms that enable self-driving cars to navigate the roads play a critical role in their safe operation. If software glitches or errors lead to accidents, the developers may face liability for their role in creating the flawed technology.
  • Car owners. Despite its autonomous capabilities, car owners still have responsibilities related to vehicle maintenance, ensuring sensors and systems are functioning correctly. Negligence in maintaining the vehicle’s autonomous features might shift liability to the owner.
  • Regulatory bodies. The evolving legal complexities around self-driving cars can also impact liability. If regulatory bodies fail to establish clear guidelines or standards for self-driving technology, they might share liability for accidents resulting from inadequate oversight.
  • Infrastructure providers. Entities responsible for road infrastructure and technology, such as communication networks, GPS systems, and traffic management, could be held partially liable if deficiencies in these systems contribute to accidents involving self-driving cars.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help?

If you’re involved in a self-driving car accident, an attorney with experience in this emerging field can be invaluable. Our car accident lawyers can navigate the layers of law and technology surrounding self-driving cars to help you receive fair compensation for your injuries after a crash.

Here’s how our attorneys can help:

  • Product liability claims. We can assess whether the car’s manufacturer or software developer is liable for the accident if a malfunction occurs due to defective performance or design. We can help you file a product liability claim to seek damages for lost wages, medical bills, and emotional distress.
  • Expert analysis. Our team can work closely with experts to analyze the car’s data and understand its behavior leading to the accident. We can also use specialists to recreate the accident scenario, providing a clearer picture of who or what was at fault.
  • Data retrieval. We can retrieve vital information stored in the car’s systems and have it analyzed by experts to establish the circumstances of the accident.
  • Technological vs. human error. We can help determine whether the fault lies with the vehicle’s technology or human intervention, a critical factor in the outcome of your case. If a technological flaw is to blame, the legal strategy may involve negotiating with the manufacturer or software developer’s insurance company for a fair settlement based on product liability.

If human error was the cause, we may focus on acts of negligence, such as speeding or disobeying traffic laws. Each scenario requires a different approach to legal representation, emphasizing the need for an attorney qualified in this area.

Empower Your Legal Journey with Berg Injury Lawyers

Navigating the complexities of self-driving car accident cases requires a blend of technological understanding, legal skills, and strategic advocacy. At Berg Injury Lawyers, our Alameda self-driving car lawyers have the expertise to guide you through these complicated legal challenges.

Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options if you’ve been involved in a collision with a self-driving car.