What Are Your Rights If You’re Hit By A Driverless Car?

By U Cast Studios
May 8, 2024

What Are Your Rights If You’re Hit By A Driverless Car?
Image Courtesy Of California Business Journal

With technology advancing at such a rapid pace, driverless cars have shifted from science fiction to reality. Technology, however, can go awry. In the case of self-driving cars with no human at the wheel to monitor the situation, the consequences can be devastating. Recently, a woman in San Francisco was hit by a human driver while trying to cross the street. This threw her into the path of a driverless taxi which dragged her about 20 feet while trying to pull over. The taxi finally came to rest with her pinned underneath.

This article was written by Lisbeth Mora and originally published by California Business Journal.

Many legal questions come up regarding these vehicles, particularly relating to personal injury law. So, what are your rights if you’re hit and injured by a driverless car? After all, there was no one behind the wheel.

Attorney J.J. Dominguez of The Dominguez Firm explains, “Victims of driverless car accidents have the same right to pursue compensation for their injuries as anyone else. They can seek damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. These cases are complex. There may not be a human behind the wheel, but multiple defendants may still be involved. In the case of the woman critically injured by a driverless taxi in San Francisco, she and her loved ones should hire an experienced pedestrian accident attorney immediately.”

As attorney Dominguez alludes to, determining liability in cases involving autonomous vehicles can be complicated. Liability may fall on various parties, including the vehicle manufacturer, software developer, or even the owner of the vehicle. In some cases, the accident may result from a defect in the vehicle’s hardware or software, making the manufacturer liable. In others, negligence in maintenance or failure to update the vehicle’s software may point to the owner’s responsibility.

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding a driverless car accident will ask some of the following questions:

  • Was there a malfunction in the vehicle’s autonomous system?
  • Did the vehicle’s owner fail to properly maintain or update the software?
  • Did any of the vehicle’s components have a manufacturer defect?

Victims of driverless car accidents need to act swiftly in seeking legal guidance. Statutes of limitations restrict the time frame in which a personal injury claim can be filed, so prompt action is essential to protect one’s rights and pursue rightful compensation.

As technology continues to evolve, so must the legal framework surrounding it. The rising popularity of driverless cars presents new challenges in personal injury law, but victims can take solace in knowing they can file a lawsuit against those responsible. By understanding these rights and seeking experienced legal representation, victims can pursue justice and compensation in the aftermath of a driverless car accident.

In recent years, there have been several accidents involving driverless cars, some of which have tragically led to fatalities. And it’s not just pedestrians who were injured. Bicycle riders and people in other vehicles have also been hit. Nevertheless, the popularity of these vehicles is expected to continue rising, particularly in densely populated areas. Whatever the future may hold, it’s crucial victims of self-driving car accidents know they have rights if the unthinkable happens.

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