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Involved in an Accident With a Self-Driving Car

Self-driving cars have been tested for years, and we are inching closer and closer to these vehicles becoming commonplace around the country. Right now, most newer vehicles do have some sort of autonomous driving features, though there are not very many fully self-driving cars on the road, at least not yet. Here, we want to discuss accidents involving autonomous and self-driving cars, particularly focusing on liability.

Autonomous or Self-Driving – What’s the Difference?

Self-driving vehicles are real, not something out of a science fiction novel, at least not anymore. Various companies, including Uber and Google, have been testing self-driving vehicles for years now. However, self-driving cars are not the mainstream on the roadways right now. These technologies continue to undergo changes and adaptations to make them as safe as possible before being released to the public. Additionally, there will likely be significant legislation passed regulating self-driving vehicles on the roadways before they become mainstream.

However, most newer vehicles on the roadway do have autonomous features, which are in a way self-driving but given narrower parameters. At the most basic level of automation, we have vehicles that have adaptive self-cruise control, steering assistance, and even the ability to stop on their own if an obstacle crops up in their path.

More advanced autonomous features in vehicles include the ability to park and unpark themselves and even drive to the front of an area where the owner is. Some vehicles do have rather advanced autopilot features that help them stay inside the lanes of a highway with almost no input from the driver. These vehicles come with the most advanced artificial intelligence systems available in vehicles right now.

Regardless of the level of automation in a vehicle on the roadways today, every vehicle manufacturer still requires that a person sit in the driver seat so they have the ability to take over driving activities if there is an approaching hazard. Drivers must be in control of the vehicle or able to regain control of the vehicle at any time.

If an accident occurs involving a vehicle where an autonomous driving feature was engaged, this would still be handled like any other type of vehicle accident. Fault will have to be determined, and the at-fault driver will be responsible for paying compensation to the other party.

Now, as self-driving vehicles do begin to hit the roadways in the future, the issue of liability is still unclear. We mentioned that laws will have to change, and that is the truth. Legislators in North Carolina or at the federal level have not begun to tackle how to handle liability for an accident involving a self-driving vehicle. Right now, if a crash occurs in a self-driving vehicle currently undergoing testing by a company, then the company that sanctioned the testing will likely be held liable for the incident.

If you or somebody you love has been injured in a crash involving a vehicle with an autonomous feature engaged or with a self-driving vehicle currently undergoing testing, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled Raleigh car accident attorney immediately. You may be able to recover various types of compensation, including coverage of your medical expenses, last income, pain and suffering damages, property damage expenses, and more.