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Accidents Involving Automated Vehicles and the Assessment of Liability

June 30, 2019

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – According to an online news article published by, state legislatures, along with the federal government, are working to enact laws that address the issue of liability and motor vehicle accidents that involve automated or “self-driving” vehicles.*

Automated vehicles have been on the horizon for a long time, and while it is currently not legal to operate a fully autonomous vehicle on any road in the United States, both state governments and the federal government are working to enact laws to be prepared for the day when automated vehicles enter the marketplace.  Partially autonomous vehicles are, however, present on United States roadways.  Certain cars and trucks, such as Uber vehicles, do have some level of automation but stop short of being a fully automated vehicle that can operate without human intervention. 

The assessment of liability is always an issue to be addressed following any auto accident. Currently, laws on the books in most states and at the federal level are written with the assumption that a human driver is involved.  As such, addressing liability after an accident involving an automated vehicle can be tricky.  So far, more than 25 states have enacted laws relating to automated vehicles, paving the way for automated car manufacturers to establish testing programs that would help to ensure the vehicles are safe and in compliance with the new laws.

If a person sustains injuries in an accident that involves an automated vehicle, the question of liability will likely include an assessment of not only the individual(s) involved in the accident but also the manufacturer of the autonomous vehicle. For example, if an autonomous vehicle failed to operate as intended and strikes a pedestrian, the manufacturer of that automated vehicle may be considered at fault.  Because autonomous vehicles are still being developed, it will take time and experience to know how liability will be apportioned in an everyday accident that involves an autonomous vehicle.

Accident News is a driver safety and education initiative from Montlick & Associates, designed to help people better understand and thereby avoid common accident causes.  To learn more about our injury prevention programs, including - click here. We hope you are never in an accident, but if you or family member are injured, call Montlick & Associates 24/7 for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333) or use our live chat at


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Category: Accident News

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.

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