Navigating New Roads: Liability in the Age of Autonomous Vehicles – Darfoor Law Skip to content

Navigating New Roads: Liability in the Age of Autonomous Vehicles

Our cars will soon be driving us, not the other way around, and this is having profound effects on the legal framework governing the use of automobiles. The proliferation of autonomous vehicles, often known as self-driving or driverless automobiles, is challenging long-held assumptions about who is at fault in traffic collisions and reshaping the law as we know it.

Personal injury litigation arising from car crashes has traditionally revolved around the idea of negligence, defined as the driver’s failure to act properly or as a reasonable person would expect them to act in the same situation. As we move away from vehicles driven by humans and towards those controlled by computers, a new ethical dilemma emerges: who is to blame when there is no ‘driver’?


The Difficulty in Establishing Responsibility

Historically, human drivers have been deemed principally liable under the law in the event of an accident. The spotlight is gradually moving away from the ‘driver’ and onto the designers and developers of autonomous vehicles and their underlying control software.

Picture this: a self-driving car is involved in an accident because its artificial intelligence system experienced a problem. Is it the human ‘driver’s’ fault that he or she was supposed to be reading? Or should we hold the maker of the car or the creator of the AI system responsible?

The degree to which the car is autonomous, the nature of the accident, any problems in the vehicle or its software, and the applicable rules and regulations all contribute to the complexity of the answer to this question.


The Changing Face of the Law

Legislators and regulators are adapting to the new reality by looking into alternative methods of assigning blame in the event of an accident involving autonomous vehicles. The software developers may be included in the “shared responsibility model” that certain jurisdictions have adopted, or strict liability may be imposed on the manufacturers.

Some states in the United States, for instance, have implemented laws making the manufacturer responsible for any damages caused by an autonomous vehicle while it is operating in autonomous mode. In the European Union, policymakers are considering revising the Product Liability Directive to account for the unique circumstances presented by autonomous vehicles.

The goal of these adjustments is to increase the responsibility of system creators and promoters. These statutes will play a larger role in directing personal injury litigation as autonomous vehicles become more commonplace.


Effects on Cases Involving Personal Injuries

The effects of these changes on personal injury litigation are substantial. Litigation is anticipated to become more convoluted as manufacturers and software developers become the primary targets. Expert testimony and a technical understanding of how autonomous systems work will be required to determine whether or not a vehicle’s software behaved ‘reasonably’ under the circumstances.

In addition, the manufacturers and developers of the software have more to lose than ever before because of the potential for severe legal repercussions. Businesses will be incentivized to create and maintain flawless software and hardware in order to reduce their legal risks, which could lead to significant advancements in safety.

Increased use of autonomous vehicles has the potential to revolutionize transportation, but it also raises many legal questions. If we want the laws governing our roadways to keep up with technological developments as we ride into the future, our legal system will have to change. This will require striking a fine balance between fostering creativity and safeguarding civil liberties. This is the only way to guarantee a fair and autonomous driving future.


Consult with Darfoor Law Firm

An experienced lawyer provides you with the opportunity to discuss your situation and gain clarity on your potential avenues for seeking compensation. It’s your opportunity to ask questions, assess the strength of your case, and decide if legal representation is beneficial for you.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to someone else’s carelessness or fault, Darfoor Law Firm is here to provide support and suggest the best course of action.
Accidents can be difficult to deal with; that is why having someone who understands and empathizes is so important.
Call us at +1-833-DARFOOR for a free case evaluation.

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