The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. Articles The Impact Of Autonomous Cars On Car Injury Claims

The Impact Of Autonomous Cars On Car Injury Claims

By Christopher Hoffmann  Apr. 23, 2019 4:38p

If a person gets injured in a car accident in Missouri, they can generaly file a compensation claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and receive some aide to cover their medical costs or damages.

The idea is that the negligent driver should carry the burden of the victim. If the person was texting while driving and caused an accident, others shouldn’t have to pay for their mistakes. But what happens when the at-fault party isn’t another driver - it’s an autonomous car?

How Driverless Cars Will Impact Personal Injury Claims

So far, self-driving cars are still a concept or an idea. The so-called autonomous vehicles that have taken to the roads still require a driver behind the wheel to take control of the car in case something goes wrong.

But car manufacturing companies have made it no secret that they’re working on building a vehicle that is completely autonomous. So how would these vehicles impact a personal injury claim? Well, there are two possible scenarios:

1. When There Is a Driver

Even if the car was driving itself at the time, the fact that a driver was behind the wheel will typically make them liable in case of an accident. An argument can be made that the driver should have taken control over the vehicle to prevent/minimize the accident.

Or, in some instances, the liable party could possibly be the car manufacturer if the collision happened because of a malfunction.

2. When the Other Driver Is the Vehicle

That is where it gets tricky because there is no legislation that takes into account the possibility of a fully autonomous vehicle. Neither Missouri nor other states have such rules in place yet, though once these vehicles become more widespread, the legislation is sure to follow.

Instead of a driver, you have a potentially liable party in the car owner. But, if they were not in control of the vehicle, how could they be held responsible? The manufacturer’s fault will also come heavily into the discussion, but one cannot overlook the possibility that the car did not malfunction - in fact, it behaved as programmed.

There is a rather big debate about how these vehicles should act in case of a car accident - try to save the passengers inside or try to minimize the potential damage? There have been a lot of news stories about autonomous vehicles involved in car accidents, but since their usage isn’t all that common, it’s very difficult to predict how these types of cases will be handled.

One Thing’s for Sure: Speak With a Lawyer

If you have been involved in any sort of auto accident, you should reach out to a St. Louis car accident lawyer and discuss your case with them. They can help you understand what the best course of action is in your situation. Give us a call 24/7 at (314) 361-4242 for a FREE case evaluation.

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