Self-driving cars are slowly gaining popularity. Nowadays, auto accidents involving autonomous vehicles are subject to legal lawsuits. Your auto accident attorney can help you prove liability if a self-driving car causes a car crash. Here are some basics on liability in a driverless car crash.
Levels of Automation
One way to determine liability in a driverless car crash is the level of the car's automation during the accident. A person is likely to be found liable for an accident if the car had low automation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Society of Automotive Engineers developed vehicle automation levels: Level 0–5.
- Level 0: With this level, there's no cruise control.
- Level 1 has driver assistance: In this case, the vehicle offers lane keep assist and cruise control.
- Level 2 provides partial automation: This includes controlling steering and speed to assist drivers when the traffic is moving slowly. In these low automation levels, the driver can still be held liable for an accident.
- Level 3 automation (conditional automation): The vehicle can drive by itself but under the condition that the driver should take over control at a moment's notice.
- Level 4 is a high automation level: With this level, the car can drive on its own without any human interaction. However, this level is restricted under certain circumstances which require some human intervention.
- Level 5 is called full automation: This is where the car is truly driverless without any need for human intervention. These kinds of vehicles are yet to be invented.
When you're in an accident, it's important to learn the vehicle automation level to determine the level of liability you could expect from the driver.
Even when it comes to driverless car crashes, human error is a defense your auto accident attorney can use. Although driverless cars are meant to reduce car accidents, even sophisticated technology cannot prevent accidents caused by negligent human operators. Some drivers of autonomous vehicles trusted intelligent cars to the extent they took more risks while driving. This means they were more reckless.
For example, a driver may be distracted by a text message while the car is on level 3 automation. Since this is conditional automation, if they're required to take over the control of the vehicle but their attention is on their phone, this sort of negligent behavior can result in an accident. If a driver fails to stay alert or misuses driverless technology, they can be held liable for the crash.
Faults with the Vehicle
If a driverless car is being operated properly but suddenly fails, the manufacturer will be held responsible for any injuries caused by the faulty vehicle. In such a scenario, auto accident attorneys are faced with the task of associating an accident with the vehicle's malfunction. An effective vehicle design can also be blamed for an accident.
For instance, does the vehicle have a design defect in the auto-pilot feature? This question can be raised if the car causes a minor accident while on auto-pilot. In this case, an auto accident attorney has to show the accident was directly caused by a mistake in the vehicle's design.
To learn more about handling your case, contact auto accident injury lawyers like Borbi Clancy Patrizi, LLC.