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Who is liable if a self-driving car gets into an accident?

The issue of liability for self-driving cars is not yet resolved. The government has not proposed new regulations nor has Congress passed any new laws. In the absence of new law, many companies that are developing self-driven cars are potentially exposing themselves to huge liability risks. A products liability case develops when a person is injured because a product they purchased did not perform in the manner expected.

Self-driven cars that make decisions which result in accidents will cause injuries. The next question is who bears responsibility? If the car made all the decisions that a human would have made, is it defective? Did it perform in the manner expected?

Moreover, consider the issues of how the car should react in certain situations. Should the car be programmed to ensure the safety of its passenger above all other concerns? Should it make decisions on what is the most beneficial for society, even if that results in the car sacrificing the passenger?

To date, these issues remain unresolved. But it is very likely that some new laws or cases will develop that address these new liability concerns. In the end, it is possible that makers of self-driven cars will be exposed to liability every time one of their vehicles is involved in an accident. That could necessitate an entirely new insurance industry or monumental reforms regarding liability.

Product liability cases are resolvable from some different legal strategies. You could pursue a classic lawsuit or join a class action. You might file a complaint directly with the company or with a government regulatory agency. If you were injured, you might want to consult with an attorney. A lawyer can walk you through each of the scenarios and outline the pros and cons of each option. The circumstances of your case will guide you to the options that are most likely to result in fair compensation for your injuries.


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