One day soon, self-driving cars may be a bigger transportation revolution than the switch from horse-drawn carriages to gasoline-powered cars in the early 20th century. But for now, autonomous vehicle technology is limited and inconsistent. As a result, accidents are common. If you were a victim in an autonomous vehicle crash, contact our Michigan autonomous vehicle accident lawyers straight away to begin the claims process.
At Buchanan Firm, we are firmly committed to fighting for justice for accident victims. If you or a loved one was injured in a collision with an autonomous vehicle, contact our Michigan accident attorneys today for a free consultation. We will begin working on your case right away, assess the facts, collect the evidence and stand up for your rights.
Most “driverless” cars are not truly driverless. Instead, they have built-in driver assistance features, such as advanced cruise control, proximity sensors, and built-in GPS navigation devices.
Even if their vehicles are on “autopilot,” drivers are still legally responsible for crashes. Michigan’s DUI law includes the same principle. Even if the defendant is asleep in the front seat, authorities can still charge the defendant with DUI and obtain a conviction. Operating the vehicle, which is exerting any sort of control over it, is sufficient.
Furthermore, some technological innovations may be dangerously distracting. That’s arguably true of GPS navigators and proximity alert sirens. Moreover, many of these innovations give drivers a false sense of security, so they drive more recklessly than they would otherwise.
Since autonomous vehicle drivers are still responsible for DUI and other infractions, the negligence per se rule still applies. If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) violates a safety law and causes a collision, the tortfeasor may be responsible for damages as a matter of law. Defendants cannot use a driverless car as an excuse to drive drunk, and tortfeasors cannot use a driverless car as an excuse for negligent operation.
Technology-related distracted driving may constitute a lack of reasonable care, so an ordinary negligence claim may be in order. Tortfeasors who violate a legal duty and cause injuries are legally responsible for those injuries.
This legal responsibility normally means compensating the victim for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Other times, the manufacturer may be responsible for the crash. In these situations, the strict liability rule usually applies. If victim/plaintiffs establish cause, manufacturers are automatically liable for the damages mentioned above.
Some autonomous vehicles have data security issues. It is too easy for a hacker to take control of the vehicle and cause a crash. Or, to avoid one collision, the computer may order the vehicle to make an unsafe maneuver, and thereby cause a more serious crash.
Manufacturers are strictly liable for design defects and manufacturing defects. Computer programming errors are an example of a design defect. These cars should never be on the road. Other times, the vehicle itself is well-designed. But the car company takes illegal shortcuts during the manufacturing process or uses cheap materials which render the vehicle unfit for service.
When product manufacturers put profits before people in these ways, many jurors award additional punitive damages.
Vehicle owners and/or vehicle manufacturers may be responsible for autonomous vehicle crashes. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm, P.L.C. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no money or insurance. Call today.