Will the Era of Autonomous Vehicles Will Impact Car Accident Lawsuits?


September 20, 2016

Atlanta Auto Accident Injury Lawyers Consider Whether the Era of Autonomous Vehicles Will Impact Car Accident Lawsuits

Although the prospect of cars that do not need drivers was once limited to science fiction movies and the Jetsons, vehicles that have the capacity to take over more tasks from motorists are already on the market. The 2017 E-Class Sedan introduced by Mercedes-Benz at the 2016 North American International Auto Show, for example, boasts a broad range of autonomous driving features that allow the vehicle to travel significant distances without driver intervention. Although these self-driving vehicles have been promoted as a significant leap forward in roadway safety, this new technology raises questions about the future of auto collision claims. In this blog article, our Atlanta auto accident lawyers consider the impact of autonomous vehicles on car accident claims.

The prospect of watching the morning news from a holographic projection on the windshield or organizing notes for your morning meeting during your commute might seem appealing. However, autonomous vehicles have been offered first and foremost as a way to get negligent motorists out of the driver's seat. Since careless, intoxicated, and distracted drivers cause many car accidents, self-driving vehicles could significantly reduce the number of crashes. Motor vehicle collisions claimed the lives of 385,092 people in 2015, which is the most highway deaths in fifty years. Further, serious injuries were estimated to have risen significantly in 2015. These numbers certainly attest to the benefit of preventing negligent motorists from traveling the roadways of Georgia.

However, traffic accidents and liability issues will not disappear after computer systems control all vehicles even if driver negligence becomes a thing of the past. Collisions can still be caused by poorly designed, manufactured, or installed computer auto-piloting systems. When software glitches, hardware malfunctions, or hacked systems become the dominant cause of traffic accidents, auto accident lawsuits will likely focus on product liability law rather than negligence involving drivers.

Theories of Liability for Vehicle Manufacturers Involving Defective Auto-Pilot Systems

Product liability law provides the basis for pursuing legal remedies for injuries or fatalities caused by a defective or misrepresented product. Typically, an injury victim in a product liability lawsuit will assert multiple theories of liability. Liability for a car accident caused by a defective autonomous vehicle might be based on strict liability, negligence, and/or breach of warranty.

Strict Liability: Even if the manufacturer of an automobile exercises reasonable care to construct a safe vehicle, it can still be defective. Under this theory of liability, the manufacturer can be liable when the vehicle leaves the control of the manufacturer, despite the fact the defect was not the result of negligence. Strict liability typically is invoked in cases involving design defects, manufacturing defects, and failure to warn.

Negligence: Automakers have a duty to exercise reasonable care in designing and manufacturing their vehicles so that they are safe when used in ways that are reasonably foreseeable. For example, an autonomous car might be designed where no driver intervention is needed except in highly unusual circumstances. If the braking system of an autonomous vehicle is only designed and tested when roadways are dry, the manufacturer might be negligent if the brakes do not prevent a collision because the roadway is wet.

Failure to Warn: When car manufacturers fail to provide consumers with sufficient information and warnings about the risks associated with their vehicles, they can be held liable for not providing adequate instructions and warnings. Liability might be imposed when the injury is a result of this lack of information.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 32 Years of Legal Experience to Work For You

If you or your loved one is injured in a traffic accident, our experienced Atlanta auto accident injury lawyers work diligently in pursuit of the fullest recovery for our clients under the law. Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty-two years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located, the attorneys of Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

 

Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
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Related Pages: Columbus Car Accident LawyersAugusta GA Car accident lawyersCar Accident Lawyers in GeorgiaCar Accident Lawyers in AtlantaCar Accident Lawyers in AthensAlbany Car Accident Lawyers.

 

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.