Self-driving vehicles promise to make transportation safer by eliminating human error. Unfortunately, the self-driving revolution is still in its infancy—and serious accidents continue to happen. One quick glance at the internet shows that accidents involving self-driving vehicles happen around the country, from California to Texas to Florida. It turns out that manufacturers of these autonomous vehicles have not yet found a way to completely eliminate human contribution. And the technology involved in self-driving vehicles is not as sophisticated as some imagine.
If you are involved in a self-driving car accident— either as an occupant in the autonomous car or in a vehicle that was struck by a self-driving vehicle—you need to act fast. Compensation is possible, but you will need to fully document the wreck and then contact a seasoned Las Vegas car accident lawyer to review the circumstances.
The moments following a car accident are disorientating, to say the least. One second you are driving down the road or through an intersection—the next, your face is pressed to an airbag as you try to ignore the pain in your body. You might never have even seen the vehicle which slammed into you.
Nevertheless, the steps an accident victim takes at the scene of the wreck can make or break a case. It’s that simple. There is so much helpful evidence at the scene of the accident, and accident victims need to collect as much of it as possible. Follow these steps:
Remember to go to the hospital following any collision. Even a minor accident can cause serious injuries, such a traumatic brain injury or back injury, and prompt medical care is vital to a full recovery.
To help with making a claim for compensation, hold onto all medical bills, medical records, and proof of lost income. If your car needs repairs, keep a copy of the estimate or the final bill. We have found that this documentary evidence is necessary to accurately value a claim.
Before you can make a claim for compensation, you need to identify who is to blame for the wreck. This is called assigning fault. But the process isn’t always easy when it comes to autonomous vehicles.
Specifically, these vehicles are not 100% safe or 100% foolproof. Media reports often exaggerate the sophistication of the car’s technology. You might think, “I must be at fault because the car’s computer wouldn’t make an error”—which is 100% wrong. Self-driving vehicles have many vulnerabilities, and one of them might have been the root cause of the collision.
Here are a few vulnerabilities:
Hacking. Just as software in your computer can be hacked, so can the software that runs the autonomous vehicle. In 2015, two individuals showed a journalist how they could hack a car 10 miles away, shutting off its engine and messing with its air conditioning. Although manufacturers responded by recalling the model, hacking remains an ever-present threat.
Some critical information isn’t immediately available at the scene of the wreck. Specifically, information stored on the self-driving vehicle’s data logs. Often, this information holds the key for assigning fault. The logs might show that its driver made some input that led to the wreck, or it could show the computer unable to reconcile conflicting information.
Hiring an attorney is critical here. The risk you want to avoid is having the car’s owner “wipe” or erase this information. Our lawyers can preserve it by sending a letter to the self-driving vehicle’s owner, but we need to act fast.
Most settlements are paid by an insurance policy. But whose policy should pay?
This is why assigning fault is so critical. The following parties could be at fault, and you would file an accident claim with their insurer:
Here are some common scenarios:
You were injured as an occupant in the self-driving vehicle. It might be that another driver on the road is to blame, in which case you can make a claim on their liability policy. But it might be the case that the driverless car malfunctions. If so, you could possibly make a claim against the manufacturer or, if you rented the vehicle, the rental company. Businesses often have large insurance policies, so suing one is ideal if the facts warrant it.
You were struck by a self-driving vehicle. You could be the occupant of another car on the road or a pedestrian. You can make an insurance claim against any entity responsible for the wreck. This could be the driver of the autonomous vehicle, the vehicle manufacturer, the vehicle’s owner, or some combination of these.
An attorney experienced in these types of wrecks knows how to analyze the facts to sue the correct party. Any delay could hurt your claim.
We are an established Las Vegas law firm committed to helping those injured in wrecks. Get in touch with us by phone at (702) 252-0055 or reach out to us online for a free, no obligation initial consultation.