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Who is at Fault in a Self-Driving Car Accident?

Published on Feb 13, 2018 at 1:16 pm in Auto Accident.

Technology is advancing in ways that are pushing the automotive industry into exciting new possibilities. The main focus is now on self-driving cars. Many car accidents occur due to driver error, so major automobile manufacturers have been working on developing their own self-driving cars and are even testing some of them in cities.

But this doesn’t mean that self-driving cars are 100 percent safe. They can still cause accidents, which is raising another important question when discussing self-driving cars: Who is at fault?

Recently in San Francisco, a self-driving Chevrolet Bolt made by General Motors caused a car accident. Their self-driving cars have a back-up driver in case they’re needed. When the Bolt was making a lane change, the motorcyclist behind it was speeding up to pass by it, but the car decided it couldn’t safely make the lane change, and veered back into the original lane and crashed into the motorcycle. The back-up driver tried to correct this, but the driver wasn’t fast enough.

However, other reports say that the motorcyclist was weaving in between lanes, glanced at the other car, and fell over. The police report said that the motorcyclist was at fault. It’s likely in the future for major automobile manufacturers to settle quickly in cases that show the self-automated car was at fault, but will fight when the other party is the cause of the car accident.

Self-driving vehicles are equipped with technology that could provide data about the accident to help investigators determine fault.

There’s also a concern with the back-up drivers behind the wheel of autonomous vehicles. In California, the drivers need to have clean driving records and pass a training program made by maker of the car. Companies have to have permits to have their cars in California, but once they have the permit, they can drive on public roads.

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Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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