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Figuring out liability in crashes when no one is driving

Modern technology has done some incredible things for cars and trucks in recent years. Safety features like park assist, lane correction and blind spot sensors have helped drivers all across Augusta avoid countless collisions; apps for phones that block messages while a person is driving and hands-free devices that allow drivers to make calls or get directions without picking up a phone have helped to decrease distraction.

However, there are some complications that come with these and other technological solutions on the roads. For example, let's look at the widely anticipated driverless cars being developed. While it may seem quite exciting to think of a time when cars operate themselves, there have been questions raised recently regarding liability.

As discussed in this Insurance Journal article, liability has become a concern because in general, the owner (who is also usually the driver) of a car is typically held accountable for accidents involving his or her vehicle. Self-driving cars, however, do not have a driver. And the owner may have had little or no control over the actions that led to a crash. 

Some people would argue, then, that the manufacturer of the vehicle is to blame. However, this would only be the case if it can be shown that the car or a part of the car malfunctioned or was defective, both of which are very complicated claims to support.

Unless and until laws on liability are modernized, determining liability in crashes involving driverless cars will likely prove to be quite challenging.

As it stands, few accidents involving driverless cars have been reported, and many of those are said to have been caused by human operation. However, this does not mean these vehicles are completely safe. Until there are more of them on the road more frequently, it will be difficult to discern how big of a threat driverless cars could be to the safety of other motorists.

In the meantime, there is a very real possibility that an accident in which you have been hurt was caused by a negligent or reckless driver. Discussing your case with your attorney can help you understand liability and your legal options.

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