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Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers In Your Corner

Recovering Justice and Compensation for Injuries Resulting from Autonomous Cars

While the future of self-driving cars is promising, reports of autonomous car malfunctions and crashes suggest more work needs to be done before they are made available to the general public. As companies like Tesla, Google, and Uber work to refine their autonomous technology, new questions arise about liability and self-driving vehicles.

Who is responsible when a self-driving car causes an accident resulting in serious physical injuries and property damage?

Some auto industry experts believe autonomous vehicles can reduce the possibility of human error, and have the potential to prevent fatal car accidents entirely. As high-profile crashes involving Google and Tesla autonomous models show, we are still a long-way off from this accident-free utopia.

Until then, matters of product liability, insurance, and even criminal law need to be explored as they relate to driverless car accidents.

Autonomous Technology and Products Liability

Product liability claims are concerned with the manufacturing, design, guarantees, warnings, or warranties associated with any product available for public use. While product liability laws vary from state to state, they are generally applied to determine if a product’s defect:

  • Is unreasonably dangerous
  • Was hidden from the user
  • Caused injuries

Numerous product liability claims related to traditional vehicles exist on the books. Yet because autonomous motor vehicle technology is still relatively new, case law regarding product liability and self-driving cars is limited.

What makes autonomous cars different than traditional cars is their vehicle control systems. This advanced software is likely going to be the source of future product liability claims.

Autonomous technology is made up of various laser scanning sensors that survey the driver’s surroundings and use that data it to make certain driving decisions that are executed by the vehicle.

Potential Product Liability Defects

Product liability defects in this autonomous technology may involve:

  • Sensors installed incorrectly, causing “blind spots” or areas not detected by laser scanning systems
  • Mechanical and/or electrical failures interfering with vehicle operation
  • Inadequate sensor data causing the autonomous technology to make dangerous driving decisions
  • Insufficient warnings or instructions, including failing to notify consumers of environmental conditions when technology may be ineffective
  • Security gaps enabling hackers to take control of autonomous technology and interfere with vehicle performance

While newer cars are not completely driverless, they most-likely do contain some type of driver-assist technology. The most common is crash-avoidance systems, such as blind-spot monitoring applications, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warnings. When defects in these systems lead to motor vehicle accidents, injured victims may have cause to file a product liability claim.

Product Liability Claims

Product liability laws require that products meet consumers’ ordinary expectations. A dangerous or unexpectedly defective product does not meet these expectations. Any party along the distribution chain can be held responsible for a defective product, depending upon how and when that defect came to be.

In product liability claims, the plaintiff must prove the product contained a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect that made it unreasonably dangerous.

Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC Handle Claims for Defective Driverless Technology

If a defective product caused harm to your or a loved one, you may be entitled to damages for these injuries. A Philadelphia products liability lawyer at McCann & Wall, LLC has the experience and determination to take on complex claims involving new and emerging technology like that contained in self-driving cars.

Proving liability is essential for recovering damages for your injuries. We will do the detailed discovery and legal strategizing necessary to prove your claim. To get started, call 215-569-8488 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. With five convenient locations, we represent clients in Philadelphia, Delaware County, Chester County, and throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

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