Self-driving cars (aka, autonomous cars) are becoming more popular across the country, including in Virginia. With increases in technological sophistication, these vehicles hold the promise of revolutionizing transportation. Unfortunately, accidents can happen with any vehicle, and self-driving car accidents are no exception.
If you have been involved in a Northern Virginia self-driving car crash, you may be eligible to receive compensation. It is essential to speak with a skilled personal injury attorney. Reach out to Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP for a free consultation today.
Scenarios Resulting in Self-Driving Car Accidents
Self-driving motor vehicles reduce the likelihood of human driving, and in general, they increase road safety. Despite the massive potential of these machines, accidents involving self-driving cars can still happen because of various factors.
Some of the most common scenarios that result in self-driving vehicle collisions include:
Autonomous motor vehicles rely on many sensors to determine the environment around them. These sensors include:
- Radar systems
When any of these systems malfunction, it can lead to a misinterpretation of the vehicle’s surroundings. The car may maneuver in dangerous ways if the sensor systems present an incomplete view of the roadway. In this way, self-driving car accidents can result from sensor problems.
Glitches in Onboard Computer Software
Self-driving vehicles rely on complex software systems to:
- Process incoming sensor information
- Make decisions about vehicular motion
- Control the car
When an onboard software system is faulty or glitches, mishaps may occur. Common software glitches include bugs, system crashes, and errors in software coding.
Self-driving vehicles also require functioning hardware components to operate properly. Examples include:
- Steering systems
- Acceleration systems
These mechanical systems wear down over time. A mechanical or electrical failure in the vehicle’s hardware can result in loss of control and potentially cause accidents.
Cybersecurity threats may result in self-driving car collisions. Self-driving vehicles rely heavily on computer technology. As such, they are becoming more connected.
Self-driving cars that are connected to the internet are sometimes vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. In some instances, hackers may even be able to gain access to a vehicle’s control systems. This allows bad actors to control the car’s behavior and potentially cause accidents.
Mapping Errors and Location Mistakes
Self-driving motor vehicles use detailed maps of public roadways to determine their location and navigate effectively. Errors in mapping information or inaccurate localization data can result in inappropriate decisions.
This may lead an autonomous car to make an improper lane change, miss a turn, or go the wrong way. These driving decisions can be hazardous and may cause a crash.
Determining Liability in Northern Virginia Self-Driving Car Accidents
When you or someone you love has been involved in a crash with a self-driving car, it can be stressful and overwhelming. Determining legal liability is especially complex in these cases.
Some of the most important issues to understand when determining legal liability in these cases include:
In collisions involving non-autonomous cars, the negligent driver is usually at fault. But self-driving vehicles complicate this issue.
The issue of driver responsibility becomes more nuanced in crash cases involving self-driving cars. It is important to speak with a seasoned Northern Virginia tort attorney to determine who is legally liable for the damage you have sustained.
Autonomous vehicles are dependent on digital software and other information systems. Because of this, the issue of product liability may be relevant in collisions involving autonomous cars.
If a mishap is caused by a flaw in the vehicle’s software or hardware, the manufacturer of the vehicle or the relevant computer system may be at fault. The amount of autonomy that these vehicles hold varies by make and model. For this reason, it is critical to consult with a legal professional in the aftermath of an autonomous vehicle collision.
The Issue of Negligence
Many tort claims rely on the legal concept of “negligence.” If an individual or entity failed to take proper care and harm resulted, their actions may be considered negligent.
In the case of a self-driving car, if an autonomous vehicle system manufacturer was negligent in the design or manufacture of their product, they may be financially responsible for any resulting damage.
Insurance Coverage Policies
Many insurance providers are changing their coverage plans to account for the widespread use of autonomous vehicles. As legal liability frameworks evolve, insurance plans for self-driving cars may begin to focus more on product liability coverage.
In plans like these, the vehicle manufacturer or technological system providers bear more of the responsibility for accidents. No matter the cause of your self-driving car accident, it’s important to make sure you review the facts of your case with a tort attorney.
Contact a Seasoned Personal Injury Attorney in Northern Virginia Today
At Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP, we know that car crash victims face a diverse set of challenges. You should not be held liable for the financial and personal damage that another party caused.
With a 40-year history of results, our dedicated team has the experience and skills you need to secure the compensation you deserve. If you believe you have a valid self-driving car accident claim in Northern Virginia, contact our firm to schedule a no-cost consultation as soon as possible.