Self-driving cars are the wave of the future. However, many consumers who are looking forward to sitting back and enjoying the ride probably aren’t thinking of the possible legal repercussions. The entire idea behind self-driving cars is to eliminate the potential for human error, but that does not mean that all chance of error is gone. Automated cars can’t think independently, nor can they always anticipate conditions the way that the human brain is conditioned to.
Read more: Americans Not Excited About Autonomous Cars
Many cars now come equipped with different safety features and self-driving technology that is supposed to prevent costly errors that can lead to an accident. Not all of the technology out there is fully tested or foolproof, though. So, if you are in a car accident and the computer on your car was the one calling the shots, who is to blame: you or your car?
As things currently stand, if you are in a car that has self-automated features, but you are still behind the wheel, then you – the driver – are liable for any damage or injuries if you are found to be at fault for any resulting accident. That does not mean that there aren’t times when the manufacturer of the car, or the technology installed in it, can fail and cause the accident. But that does mean that if you are found at fault – even if the car malfunctioning is to blame – then you will need to initiate a product liability claim against the car manufacturer to recover for both parties’ damages and injuries.
Liability is not negated by the fact you are behind the wheel of a self-driving car. Since Missouri is a comparative law state, you will only be responsible for whatever portion of the accident you were found to have caused. That doesn’t matter whether it was driver error or self-driving technology error. You would be liable for your portion of the accident with the other party, and then it would be your responsibility to prove that the accident happened due to a product defect in order to recover in a product liability suit for your percentage.
Although the theory behind self-driving technology is that it is supposed to limit human error, the statistics indicate that self-driving cars are as much as four times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than conventional cars. If you are in a crash in Missouri and have a self-driving car, and you are found at fault, then you may be able to sue the car manufacturer for your portion of the liability.
If you have been involved in a St. Louis car accident call our 24 hour call center at (314) 361-4242 to speak with a St. Louis car accident attorney.