The testing of driverless cars has been authorized on North Carolina roads, causing concern for those who will share the highways with these cars. Although the intention behind autonomous vehicles is to eliminate car accidents in the future, media reports of motor vehicle accidents involving these cars suggests that there is a long way to go. Some of these crashes have resulted in fatalities.
Who will be liable for injuries caused by a driverless car? Autonomous vehicle technology is still new and evolving, and so are the laws relating to it. In other car accidents, negligent drivers can be held liable for damages. Will the computer that drives the autonomous vehicle be deemed the negligent party in the event of a crash? What about the computer programmer, the designer of the equipment and the manufacturer?
Of course, there are autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. The latter requires the human driver to have his or her hands on the steering wheel and physically able to take over the control of the car if necessary. If a semi-autonomous vehicle is involved in a crash that causes injuries, the human driver might be jointly responsible along with the computer programmer, manufacturer and others involved in the production and marketing of the vehicles.
Would car accident claims in the future become product liability claims? Victims of motor vehicle accidents involving driverless cars in North Carolina may be overwhelmed by mounting medical bills and other damages, with no idea who to pursue for financial accountability. An experienced personal injury attorney who is up to date with developing legislation can assess the circumstances and represent an accident victim at every stage of the claims process.