When a Robot Car Hits Me, Whom Do I Sue?

May 22, 2017
robot car

Riding In A Robot Car

Volvo has claimed it will take full liability for accidents caused in so-called “self-driving” mode. This differs from Tesla’s stance. Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla, has announced recently that every one of its newest automobiles will come complete with “self-driving” hardware. But, he then claims that the design would have to be defective for Tesla to take responsibility.

Where does this leave the insurance companies? And where does it leave us as drivers?

By 2019, fully autonomous vehicles are expected to be amongst us.

Many are publically predicting that auto insurance costs will drop due to a much lower accident rates for driverless cars. It is hard to argue that. Human errors, like distractions, speeding, showing off, falling asleep, road rage and the like would all be eliminated.

But no one is so naïve as to predict robots will stop accidents entirely. The current rate is over 5 million crashes in the U.S. each year. Any cut, even 5%, would be significant.

But at what cost? And what about the moral choices a driver might make?

If a young boy chases a ball into road, and there are trees on both sides, the driver can swerve into the tree to save the boy. What would the robot do? Or, what if you wanted to ram a car to stop a violent criminal?

There are also other concerns. How can the robot car see a car swerving from many lanes away? You might, but will it? What will the autonomous car do in the mountains if it must swerve? Will it understand the drop? That it would be better to hit the mountainside? Stopping distance can only be so short. There are limitations. And a lot of questions remain.

But it will not be long till you may be a passenger in the car with no driver.

Mr. Peel seeks justice for those injured in motorcycle, truck and car accidents, disability and medical malpractice. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Mr. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.

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