Autonomous Vehicles Raise Questions of Accident Liability
Autonomous vehicle technology is quickly gaining steam in Georgia and across the United States, but many issues surrounding the vehicles remain unsettled. One such issue pertains to liability in the event of an accident.
Currently, if someone is injured in a vehicle accident in Georgia, he or she will work with an auto insurance carrier for compensation and will have the option of pursuing a legal claim against the at-fault driver. This might not be the case for self-driving car accidents.
During the initial phases of development, people involved in accidents with self-driving vehicles have turned to the companies that own and operate the vehicles for compensation. For instance, General Motors is involved right now in a lawsuit regarding a crash between one of its self-driving cars and a motorcycle. The lawsuit could pave the way for liability in similar future lawsuits between injured people and autonomous vehicle companies. But the precedent will need to evolve as the technology does.
In the future, when two privately owned autonomous vehicles crash on a roadway, who will be held responsible? Will the “drivers” be liable for any resulting damage and injuries, even though they were not actually in control of the vehicles? Or will injured persons make claims against the vehicle manufacturers? So far, these are questions without answers.
As federal and state governments begin working on regulations for self-driving vehicles, lawmakers will quickly need to decide whether to enact laws regarding liability and legal recourse during autonomous accidents.
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