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Who's at Fault in a World of Self-driving Cars?

When driverless cars crash, who's at fault? The automobile maker? The software designer? The parts maker? The maps maker? Right now, it's anyone's guess. Attorneys speculate that, at first, anyone involved with the production of the car will be fair game until a court says otherwise. That means programmers, computer companies, software manufacturers, mapping companies, 

even states.

Of course, the idea was that driverless cars would decrease accidents, since human error is the cause of 90 percent of the 33,000 annual fatalities in the U.S.

Part of the problem is that current law holds the car owner or driver at fault. Then, if the driver contends it wasn't their fault, such as with the runaway Toyotas in the early 2010's, then they have to prove the company was negligent.

Some attorneys contend that there need to be changes in the laws to make manufacturers of automated systems liable for crashes, but nothing like that is in place right now. What would have to happen is that the owner of a driverless car would have to be in an accident, claim negligence on the part of the manufacturer, and win.

One thing is for sure: if you're hit by a driverless car, you'll have access to many more resources than if you are hit by the typical American driver with the state minimum coverage.

At Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C., our attorneys have more than 40 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. If you or a loved one has been injured and is seeking a qualified personal injury attorney, contact our Huntington, West Virginia office to speak with an attorney about your case, or call 304-523-8451.

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