self driving car accident

Who’s Liable For Self-Driving Car Accidents?

David Monteleone
Illinois Accident and Wrongful Death Lawyer

  Posted  |  Category : Car Accident Attorney

More autonomous vehicles are on Illinois roads, and it is natural to inquire about who is liable for a self-driving car accident. This is a developing area of the law, so if you are involved in a self-driving car accident, our experienced Boone County car accident attorneys at Fisk & Monteleone can assist you.

Determining Liability in Self-Driving Car Accidents

Some people believe more car accidents will occur as more self-driving cars appear on American roads. Whether this is true or not, Illinois courts will need to determine liability in these complex auto accidents.

Vicarious liability could be involved in some self-driving auto accidents. Vicarious liability means a company or other entity is liable for the negligent actions of an employee. For instance, suppose a pizza delivery driver in a self-driving car knocks you down in a crosswalk. You may sue the vehicle manufacturer for your injuries in this accident according to the vicarious liability doctrine.

Another option could be suing the pizza driver’s employer if he was working when the accident happened. However, if the driver was not working when the accident occurred, you might only be able to sue the driver for your injuries and not the employer. These cases are complex, so have your situation reviewed by a Boone County car accident attorney.

Depending on the situation, under vicarious liability, other people and entities might be liable for a self-driving accident. These include:

The Car Driver

Most self-driving cars are only partially autonomous, and the human driver still needs to oversee the self-driving function of the vehicle. For example, the human driver must take control if the software makes an error.

For example, the car’s software might warn the driver that adverse weather conditions make it necessary for her to take control of driving. She could be liable for the self-driving car accident if she does not take command of the car.

The Car Manufacturer

The self-driving vehicle manufacturer may be liable for a car accident if a product defect was involved in causing the accident. All vehicle manufacturers must produce safe vehicles, but they could be liable for accidents if they violate that duty of care.

The Car Software Manufacturer

Self-driving cars come with software that controls the autonomous functions of the vehicle. Usually, a company separate from the auto manufacturer makes the software. Some car accidents happen because of a software flaw, or a mistake could be made by the software that causes an accident. The software company could be found negligent if its product contributed to the accident.

Call Our Boone County Car Accident Attorneys For Legal Assistance

Were you in a self-driving accident recently and wonder who is liable for your injuries? There are many complex legal questions about accident liability with these vehicles, and many parties could be liable, depending on the accident details. Our Boone County car accident attorneys at Fisk & Monteleone can review your case to determine potentially responsible parties for the self-driving car accident. Please call us for a free consultation at (815) 962-0044.