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Who’s Responsible if You’re Involved in a Self-Driving Car Accident in California?

Posted on June 27, 2019 | Written By: iadminlaw

Self-driving cars are here, but they aren’t always as safe as they’re supposed to be. What should California drivers do if they are involved in collisions with autonomous cars? Who is to blame, legally speaking, when these car accidents happen?

In several states, including California, driverless cars have become increasingly common. These autonomous vehicles offer much in the way of convenience, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t without their issues. Already there have been a few reported instances of self-driving vehicles colliding with other cars, causing accident and injury.

That’s not to say that driverless cars are especially dangerous—but the simple reality is that, any time you’re on the highway, you face some risk of being injured by another vehicle. And while self-driving vehicles have been well-calibrated to offer the highest standards of safety, their protocols are not foolproof, and they can’t always account for the erratic actions of other motorists.

So let’s say you’re out driving and you’re injured in a collision with another vehicle—and you find, much to your surprise, that the vehicle in question didn’t actually have a human being behind the wheel. This opens up an obvious question: Who, exactly, is responsible for paying the damages?

Who’s at Fault?

It’s almost always hard to determine who’s at fault in an accident—and in the vast majority of car crashes, the police officers and insurance companies will surmise that each of the involved parties bears at least some of the responsibility. (Though it often isn’t an equal distribution.)

As you might imagine, bringing an autonomous vehicle into the mix just makes things more complicated. However, it’s worth noting that even so-called self-driving cars are often not entirely autonomous. Many of them rely on some minimal input from a human driver. In these instances, the driver may indeed share some of the blame for the accident.

In order for a truly self-driving car to be cleared for the streets, it’s necessary for its safety systems to be more or less perfect. That’s why many vehicle manufacturers have proven less than eager to deploy a lot of fully autonomous vehicles. They realize that, if there is an accident and the person in the car is truly uninvolved, it’s the vehicle and its manufacturer that will take the blame for the accident.

Complicated Laws

It’s also important to note that the laws are still catching up with the advent of autonomous (or semi-autonomous) vehicles. Indeed, most car accident laws are very centered on human drivers, which means there can be some complex negotiations that have to be made to determine fault.

The good news is that truly autonomous cars probably will reduce the number of accidents, even if they don’t altogether eliminate accidents. Some of the most common causes of accidents, like drunk or distracted driving, obviously won’t be concerns when driverless cars are in play.

But that doesn’t help drivers who are hit be an autonomous vehicle here and now. If that’s the scenario you find yourself in, it’s important to seek a car accident attorney who has real experience dealing with self-driving car cases… someone who can help you navigate vague or unclear laws and get the compensation you need, even if there was no other driver involved in your accident.

Get the Help You Need from I Accident Lawyer

I Accident Lawyer has represented a number of California motorists in cases involving driverless vehicles, and we are standing by to fight for the maximum monetary compensation on your behalf. Reach out to us today to learn more; our team of car accident lawyers is available 24/7.

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