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Personal injury and self-driving vehicles

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Posted on March 10, 2017

Attorneys and those interested in personal injury matters in Illinois have plenty to speculate about as self-driving cars continue to move further from theory and closer to reality. Data and personal experiences from driverless prototype vehicles have revealed many possibilities when it comes to the impact that autonomous cars might have on personal injury claims.

Driverless vehicles are a welcome innovation because they could drastically improve roadway safety as the software is not subject to issues like distracted or drunk driving. When an inebriated or preoccupied driver causes a crash, an injured victim may seek compensation from him or her. If an accident occurs with a self-driving car, automobile manufacturers or the software companies that created the autonomous technology might face liability suits instead. This could cause an increase in products liability claims.

While claims may rise partially because some people wish to dig into the deep pockets of the rich corporations responsible for self-driving vehicles, legitimate grievances could also result if autonomous vehicles are involved in crashes. The prototypes show promising results but the software is still at risk for fatigue, system errors and even hacking.

The rise of self-driving vehicles may also change the way that accidents are investigated. Instead of trying to assess what those involved were doing when the wreck occurred and who is at fault, investigators might instead focus on whether the self-driving technology is to blame. This could include looking for software glitches and malfunctions.

When a preventable car accident occurs, the injured parties usually do not care about who was behind the wheel as much as how they will pay for their medical expenses and/or lost income. Such individuals may find it helpful to consult with attorneys when trying to recover damages for their injuries from the responsible parties.