What If I Get in a Car Accident While Using Autopilot or a Self-Driving Safety Feature?

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A self-driving car auto brake safety feature prevents an accident.

Have you been involved in a self-driving car accident? If so, who bears responsibility, and how can you seek redress? You can investigate your legal options and obtain the compensation you deserve with the aid of an experienced self-driving car accident attorney.

How Many Accidents Are Caused by Self Driving Cars

Self-driving vehicles are gaining popularity and will play a significant role in automotive technology. Autonomous cars are currently being released by manufacturers such as Uber, BMW, and Tesla. However, these self-driving vehicles are typically not available for purchase to the general public.Yet, Tesla, stands apart, as they proudly offer a autopilot feature on newer models, allowing the car to drive fully autonomously.  However, the company continues to state that it is the driver’s responsibility to maintain control over the vehicle. Therefore, a driver should always be on the lookout for potential safety issues and step in should they arise.

Despite safeguards put in place with self-driving vehicle technology, accidents may still occur. Unfortunately, currently the probability of being involved in  a self-driving car accident is increasing along with the number of self-driving vehicles on the road. To date, over 300 self-driving vehicles have been reported in accidents. One of the largest issues involved in self-driving accident cases is that the driver will often be unaware of what led to the accident if they were not actively driving. This may make  pinpoint the problem challenging. Determining which party, or parties, were negligent is crucial in any auto collision. You can consult a skilled car accident attorney at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,’ to evaluate your legal options following an accident involving a self-driving vehicle.

Improve Your Knowledge of Self-Driving Vehicles

Before discussing machine errors and accidents, you need to understand how self-driving cars operate. Just be aware that the terms “autonomous” and “self-driving” can be used interchangeably. Both are equivalent. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, level one or two autonomous driving includes features like cruise control and driver-aid technologies. A level four or five vehicle, which is entirely independent, would be able to operate without a driver at the wheel. Statistics show that fully autonomous vehicles are more likely to be involved in collisions. But the general public may be unaware of the specifics of these kinds of accidents. The majority of drivers claim that they would feel more at ease in a self-driving automobile.

Accident Statistics for Self-Driving Cars

Manufacturers provide the majority of self-driving car statistics. However, as previously mentioned, most of the public needs help to access them. In any case, read on to learn more about the accidents that involve these cars:

  • By 2018, 37 accidents involving self-driving Uber vehicles had occurred.
  • During years of testing, Waymo vehicles were involved in two reversing collisions, three pedestrian collisions, ten sideswipe collisions, fifteen rear-end collisions, and ten angled collisions.
  • Google’s self-driving car hit a bus on its maiden outing in February 2016.
  • In May 2021, a Waymo self-driving cab crashed into numerous other automobiles in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • May 7, 2016: A Tesla vehicle using autopilot results in its first fatal collision.
  • On November 30, 2018, an Uber self-driving car was involved in a collision that killed a person.
  • Two men were killed when a Tesla self-driving car collided with a tree in April 2019.

Who Is Responsible for Self-Driving Car Accidents?

One driver is often at fault in an accident involving two conventional automobiles. It is important to understand that the owners of the now-obtainable self-driving cars can take control if they believe a collision is imminent. The assessment of who is responsible for an accident involving a self-driving car is based on several variables. However, all of the factors ultimately come down to what caused the vehicle crash. Contact Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,’ to discuss the nuances of your unique case and explore your legal options.

The Owner of a Self-Driving Car’s Error

In every accident involving a Tesla utilizing its autopilot feature, the manufacturer has asserted that the driver was at fault and the accident was caused by human error. The driver should always keep their eyes on the road, even in a self-driving vehicle. It’s crucial to always feel in control so that you can plan ahead and recognize when to take the wheel. If the evidence suggests carelessness, you might be at fault.

Errors with the Vehicle

Following human error, mechanical error is the second most common cause of accidents involving any kind of vehicle, including self-driving cars. Examples of these situations include when your car breaks down, leading to an accident. You should be able to demonstrate that you were fully focused on the road in these situations. You could avoid errors if you were aware of what the car was doing at all times while you were driving. For instance, you and the other motorist might be able to take the manufacturer to court if the brakes unexpectedly fail. This issue may require a recall, which other drivers would need to address for their safety.

A Problem with the Autonomous Modes

Any self-driving car’s driving modes are a feature of the vehicle’s design. The hardware, software, cameras, and other components all have a role to play in how autonomous these robots are. However, occasionally one of these design components will have a flaw. Software problems and design flaws may cause a car accident. For instance, the Waymo self-driving taxi accident may have occurred due to computer system flaws. After speaking with Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,’ you can file a lawsuit against the manufacturers if there is evidence of these flaws.

The Procedure to Follow After a Self-Driving Car Accident in North Carolina

In the event you are involved in a car collision involving a self-driving vehicle in North Carolina, take the following steps:

  1. Do not leave the scene of the accident. Call 911 and wait for police to arrive and take their report.
  2. If possible, take photos and/or video footage of the accident scene. Include photos of the surrounding area, the vehicle’s license plates, the damage to any vehicles or other personal property, and photos of any injuries.
  3. As soon as possible following the collision, write down your statement accounting the events leading up to the accident. It is easy to forget important details following the shock of an accident.
  4. Obtain the contact information of any eyewitnesses including names, telephone numbers, and addresses.
  5. Receive medical treatment as soon as possible, even if you feel okay. The shock and adrenaline experienced following an accident may mask pain and other symptoms. Keep copies of all medical bills, care summaries, and prescription receipts that you may receive.
  6. Contact an attorney as soon as you are able to discuss your legal options and ensure that your rights are protected.

Experienced Car Accident Lawyers in North Carolina at Tatum & Atkinson

The car accident lawyers at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters,’ keep a close eye on the technical developments of autonomous vehicles. Our lawyers are paying more attention to this issue, especially since Waymo has been involved in many accidents. The ability of these self-driving cars to cause accidents and harm you and others is becoming increasingly evident to lawyers.

If an autonomous car crashes into you, you should be compensated, especially if there is evidence of some malfunction or flaw. Compensation is always possible for accidents for which you are not at fault. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident involving a self-driving vehicle, do not hesitate to reach out. Get in touch with the lawyers at Tatum & Atkinson, ‘the Heavy Hitters’ immediately to receive a free case evaluation. If we don’t win your case, you won’t have to pay anything. Call us today at (800) 529-0804 or contact us online.