Autonomous vehicles have become more common on local roads and highways, and assigning fault in an accident involving a self-driving car can be confusing. New legal challenges have emerged, including questions of product liability, regulatory adherence, and the division of responsibility. What do you need to know about an accident involving a self-driving car?

When the Self-Driving Car’s Driver is Liable

Even if the car can supposedly drive itself, there are moments when the human overseeing the self-driving car holds the responsibility. If a person ignores the vehicle’s warnings to take control, they’re squarely at fault in case of an accident. Perhaps the driver was asleep, or maybe the driver was looking at their phone. When the self-driving car asks the driver to take over, the driver should do so. This is why drivers should always pay attention, even when the car is driving itself.

Neglecting to perform required updates or maintenance that the manufacturer explicitly demands can also shift blame to the individual. Essentially, while sitting back in a self-driving car, one must still be ready to take the wheel. Drivers are also responsible for properly maintaining their vehicles.

Another Driver’s Mistake: When Humans Clash with Technology

If an accident occurs because another driver disobeys traffic laws or drives recklessly before striking a self-driving car, they bear the blame. Traditional driving errors, like running a red light or sudden lane changes without signaling, can still put the fault on another human driver. Human behavior on the road is still unpredictable, regardless of technological advances. The presence of autonomous vehicles doesn’t exempt other drivers from adhering to road safety rules.

Fault in the Code: When the Manufacturer is to Blame

Not all accidents start and end on the road; others start from the very blueprint of the vehicle. If a self-driving car crashes due to a flaw in its design, software, or manufacturing process, the manufacturing company is accountable. This includes scenarios where the vehicle’s sensors fail to detect obstacles, leading to preventable accidents. 

This can also include traditional errors, such as problems with brakes or axles. Manufacturers are also responsible if they fail to issue necessary updates or recalls for known issues. Trust in technology is paramount, and companies must ensure their vehicles are as safe as possible. Count on a lawyer to investigate this situation thoroughly.

A Missed Spot in Maintenance: The Role of Service Providers

The chain of responsibility sometimes leads to those who completed maintenance on the vehicle. If a maintenance or repair service fails to correctly fix or update a self-driving car, leading to an accident, they are at fault. This includes incorrect installations, neglecting to update software, or not following the manufacturer’s specifications for service. 

Trusting your vehicle to a service provider includes the expectation of professional care. The safety of autonomous vehicles is not just in their design but in their upkeep. If the maintenance company did not perform routine services properly, they could be held responsible.

Contact Ledger Law for a Free Consultation After a Self Driving Car Accident

Navigating the aftermath of an accident involving a self-driving car requires an experienced car accident lawyer. If you are in an accident with a self-driving car, see a doctor first. Then, it’s important to consult with a law firm that understands the unique challenges presented by autonomous vehicle technology. 

At Ledger Law, we specialize in this emerging area of law, offering comprehensive support and representation to ensure our clients receive the compensation they are entitled to. Contact us today for a free consultation at (800) 300-0001. We would be honored to fight for your rights.