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Accidents Involving Self-Driving Cars: How to Get Compensated for Your Losses and Injuries

Self-driving car technology is advancing rapidly, with companies like Tesla, Google, Uber, and traditional automakers working to release fully autonomous vehicles. As more self-driving cars emerge, accidents will inevitably happen.

So what happens if you get into an accident involving a self-driving car? Well, if you are the victim of a collision involving a self-driving car, you may have a case to recover compensation for your losses.

Determining Fault in Self-Driving Car Accidents

Most car accidents involve a negligent driver who violated traffic laws or drove recklessly. But who is at fault when no human is driving the vehicle?

Product Liability Laws

Product liability laws may provide recourse if a flaw in the autonomous vehicle’s design, algorithms, sensors, or manufacturing caused the crash.

Just like when faulty auto parts cause traditional accidents, the company could share the blame for releasing a defective self-driving car. Demonstrating a unique defect is essential to winning a product liability case.

Negligence Claims

Even if the self-driving car performed as designed, the automaker or software developer may still bear responsibility under negligence laws.

They have a duty to exercise reasonable care in programming technology that shares public roads. If a foreseeable situation results in harm due to negligence in development and testing, victims can potentially recover damages.

Gathering Evidence in Self-Driving Car Crashes

Successfully proving liability requires concrete evidence regarding the autonomous vehicle’s actions and any deficiencies.

While police reports often provide vital documentation, they rarely have enough technical details. And so to prove your case, you need to work quickly to gather additional evidence from the crash scene.

911 Calls and Witness Statements

If possible, call 911 immediately so the police can interview witnesses on the scene. Write down any witnesses’ contact information to follow up with them directly later. Seek statements from all observers while the memory is fresh.

Photos and Video Footage

Use your smartphone to photograph damage to all vehicles, debris on the roadway, skid marks, and the final resting positions of the cars. Capture wider shots of the whole scene first, then closer shots of damage and relevant details.

Also, photograph weather and road conditions. If any security or traffic cameras at the intersection may have captured footage, determine the agencies to request it from.

Data From the Self-Driving Car

The most vital evidence will come from the autonomous vehicle itself.

Work with an attorney to legally obtain the stored sensor data, operating logs, system status reports, and any footage from onboard cameras via court order discovery.

This data reveals exactly what the vehicle detected prior to the crash and sheds light on whether its actions were reasonable.

Common Injuries to Claim Damages For

While property damage and medical bills make up part of a liability claim, additional damages related to physical and emotional injuries help account for all crash-related losses.

Thoroughly document how the collision harmed your life.

Lost Income and Reduced Earning Capacity

If injuries force you to miss work for treatment and recovery, keep records to seek reimbursement for lost wages. Permanent disabilities negatively impact your future earning potential as well – calculate and claim these projected lifetime lost earnings.

Pain and Suffering

Put a monetary figure on physical pain requiring treatment, emotional distress, anxiety, PTSD, and reduced quality of life resulting from the crash. While all suffering differs by individual, juries award comparable amounts for similar traumatic injuries.

Loss of Companionship or Consortium

For severe injuries, family members often provide home health care that restricts their normal activities. Seek additional damages for loss of consortium to compensate loved ones accordingly.

Finding Legal Help for Your Claim

Don’t delay in retaining an attorney experienced with self-driving car litigation and complex product liability cases.

They have the technical expertise to demonstrate flaws in autonomous systems or development negligence to ensure that you get fair compensación por su reclamo de accidente automovilístico (compensation for your car accident claim).

Most attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning legal costs come from any settlement or award directly.

If your self-driving car accident claim does not succeed, you owe nothing. This removes barriers to justice so victims can pursue valid injury and damage compensation.

Steps to Take After an Accident with a Self-Driving Car

If you experience a collision involving an autonomous vehicle, stay calm and focus on safety first. Once the emergency is addressed, take the following key steps:

Call 911 and report injuries or dangerous conditions requiring immediate assistance. Provide clear details about the location and accident circumstances.

If possible without endangering anyone, gather identifying details and insurance information from the owner of the self-driving vehicle. Also, obtain witness contact information.

Take extensive photos documenting damage, debris, road conditions, weather, and anything else relevant to how the crash occurred. Wide shots set the whole scene while close-ups show damage in detail.

Contact an attorney experienced in self-driving car accidents to start an investigation and pursue compensation through legal channels if injuries or losses occurred. They can legally access vital data and footage from the autonomous vehicle to prove liability.

Seek any necessary medical treatment, keeping thorough records of diagnosis, treatment plans, expenses, prognosis, and impact on your normal capabilities. This documents losses for your claim.

Save and back up digital copies of all evidence related to the accident, including medical records, income statements, police reports when available, and itemized expense lists for losses and property damage.

Give statements to your attorney and insurance provider, but avoid discussing details or admitting any fault with other parties until liability is determined. Speculation can negatively impact your case.

Documenting critical crash details on-scene forms the foundation to seek fair restitution for your losses.

Compiling extensive evidence allows your attorney to build a compelling claim demonstrating the self-driving vehicle’s role in the incident through data, records and testimony.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I sue the owner of the self-driving car personally?

Typically you would pursue legal action against the automaker or software company if a flaw in the autonomous systems caused the accident.

However, the owner or operator may share liability if their actions contributed, like unsafe maintenance, disabled safety features, dangerous modifications, and so on.

What if the self-driving car worked perfectly, but still caused the accident?

Even if the autonomous vehicle performed exactly as designed, the automaker or software company can still be deemed negligent.

They have a duty to exercise reasonable care in programming self-driving cars that share public roads. If they fail to anticipate foreseeable situations that lead to crashes, victims can potentially recover damages by demonstrating this negligence.

Is a police report enough evidence to win my claim?

While the police report provides important documentation of the accident, additional technical evidence is typically necessary to demonstrate flaws in the self-driving technology or development negligence.

Your attorney will legally obtain stored data from the autonomous vehicle itself to reveal what factors caused the crash.

What settlement amount can I expect from my injuries?

Every accident and injury is unique, but legal precedents give estimates for pain and suffering damages.

Consult your attorney, who can assess the severity of your injury, treatment needs, impact on your life and career, and comparable case results to calculate a reasonable settlement demand amount.

What if multiple parties may be liable for my crash damages?

When autonomous vehicle accidents involve potential negligence or flaws stemming from multiple companies’ technologies, they may share liability.

An attorney can identify all potentially responsible parties to include in your claim – automaker, software developer, component suppliers, and so on. Damages may be apportioned based on each party’s relative fault.

Accidents involving emerging self-driving car technology raise new legal questions around accountability and liability. While complicated, understanding the basics of these lawsuits allows victims to exercise their rights.

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