Self-Driving Cars: Preventing Accidents or Causing Them? – St. Louis Attorney

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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.

 

7751 Carondelet Ave #601
St. Louis, MO
63105
Phone: (314) 361-4242
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Lost Wages After a Auto Accident – St. Louis Attorney

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There are times when injuries are so severe in a car accident that a person is unable to perform in the same capacity as they did prior to being hit. If you are unable to return to your former position at work for an extended period of time due to your injuries related to the car accident and the need for medical treatment, and your employer lets you go, you might have recourse for your lost wages. If an employer can’t go the extended time without your services and needs to hire someone to take your place, then it might be possible for you to get compensation.

If you lose your job because of the injuries you sustained from an accident, then you may be able to pursue a claim against the other driver. If you should lose your position at work, you can claim special damages. Special damages typically include things like loss of wages, income, benefits, business opportunities and profits. You will probably be awarded the amount that you would have received if you didn’t have to take time from work. A loss in special case claims is calculated from the date your medical condition is stable, and you can return to gainful employment, to the date of your injury.

See: Reimbursement for Lost Income: Unable to Work Due to Car Accident

It is also possible for you to claim general damages. They are things like future loss of earnings and whatever capacity to earn money you had prior to the accident. To recover for these types of future losses, you have to show that you would have had the potential to make the earnings you are claiming. A more subjective amount, the court will decide how much earning potential you had before you were injured in the accident. They will likely compare how much you will earn after your disability versus your capacity if you weren’t injured.

If you want to sue for your lost job, you will need to provide proof that your medical condition was the result of your not being able to return to work and the subsequent loss of your job. That will entail a physician’s note, a disability slip, and any other medical proof that you have related to your condition and injuries. The letter should generally state specifically that your loss of job was directly related to your injuries.

There is something called a damages cap, however. It is the maximum amount that you can collect on any lawsuit that you initiate. In Missouri, there is a cap related to non-economic damages which is what job loss would typically fall under. So, before you sue, make sure that you weigh what it will cost to go through a potentially long court case versus the maximum you can be awarded due to your non-economic damages if you win.

If you lose your job due to an St. Louis auto accident injury, you might be able to recoup for your loss earnings and wages both during your recovery time, and if you are disabled, into the future. To ensure that you are compensated fairly, it is imperative to have the help of a St. Louis car accident attorney to help you through the complexities of a court case. Call (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.

35% Increase in Miles Driven by 2050? – St. Louis Auto Accident Lawyers

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A recent report from an international auditing corporation KPMG shows that in the next 35 years, drivers on American roads will be driving about a trillion more miles compared to what they are driving today. These figures are far more significant if we consider the fact that vehicle ownership in the country is predicted to decline sharply over the next three to four decades. The reasons are said to be:

  • The rise of ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft
  • The introduction of self-driving cars, which could enter markets in next 5-10 years
  • The younger, urban millennials do not give as much importance to vehicle ownership as the previous generations did

This is what Gary Silberg, the automotive leader for KPMG had to say about the findings

“The automotive landscape will significantly change as a result of autonomous vehicles, and consumer behavior will dictate the rate of adoption. Like the smartphone, let’s not underestimate the power of these changes and the vast potential for new business models to satisfy them.”

Those increases would have a profound but unknown impact on vehicle sales, car ownership models, energy demand, and infrastructure…To be quite frank, I’m not sure people understand the enormity of the change, nor are we ready for it.

Key findings of the KPMG report

The study has found that although miles driven would increase significantly by 2050, not all drivers would be driving more in the next 3-4 decades. The researchers have predicted that:

  • Younger and middle age individuals will be responsible for the sharp increase in miles driven
  • Vehicles will need to have a flexible architecture to meet the demands and expectations of consumers
  • For these age groups, the surge in miles driven will be due to the increasing reliance on ride sharing services or self-driving vehicles, and not due to the fact these individuals will actually drive more often
  • Start-up companies and tech companies will become key players in the automotive industry, as these companies are usually better able to sense consumer changes

These findings are particularly significant for auto manufacturers, who would now want to focus on innovative solutions with a view to adapt to these predicted chances, and also to create a whole new driving experience for consumers.

This huge increase in the number of miles driven is also likely to bring about an increase in St. Louis car accidents. This makes it vital that traffic authorities gear up to create infrastructure and systems that can help cater to more number of vehicles particularly ride sharing vehicles and self-driving vehicles on the U.S. roads.

If you have been injured in a car accident, you should contact a competent and experienced St. Louis auto accident attorney. Give our experienced attorneys a call anytime, nights or weekends, at (314) 361-4242 for a free case evaluation.