As driverless cars become more sophisticated, the odds of seeing them out on the road get a lot better. There may soon come a day when the majority of vehicles on the highway have no human operators.
This leads to an interesting question: What happens if a driverless car is involved in an accident? If there’s no driver behind the wheel, who is at fault for an auto accident injury?
What the Law Says Now About Driverless Car Accidents
Mark Geistfeld, a professor at NYU Law, weighed in on the matter of fault in a driverless car accident after taking a driverless Tesla ride on Manhattan’s West Side Highway.
Geistfeld is quick to admit that experts have not come to a consensus when attempting to answer these types of questions. The relevant laws may need to be slightly adjusted or amended in response to the automated driving revolution.
In the meantime, the inherent uncertainties regarding who is to blame in a driverless car accident make the work of a car accident attorney more ambiguous, as the laws they would reference in a driverless car accident lawsuit are not explicit.
How to Apply the Law to Driverless Car Accident
By reviewing the current laws around car accidents, Geistfeld finds that these issues may not be as confusing as they’ve been made out to be. He claims they simply “haven’t been sufficiently well thought out.” For example, manufacturers will be responsible for protecting their vehicles from cyber attacks and hackers. If a hacker gains access to a vehicle and causes an incident that results in an auto accident injury, the manufacturer may be liable in such cases. Manufacturers may also be held responsible if hardware or programming malfunctions cause accidents.
The driverless car is no longer a sci-fi trope. In the not too distant future, they’ll begin to replace human-operated vehicles. Although these vehicles are expected to dramatically reduce the rate of auto accidents, they won’t eliminate them completely.
The Rothenberg Law Firm LLP has been handling car accident cases for over 50 years. Our range of experience puts us in the perfect position to help you or a loved one who has been involved in any type of auto accident.