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Who Do You Sue if You’re Injured by a Driverless Car?

Who Do You Sue if You’re Injured by a Driverless Car?

Speak With One Of Our Rolling Meadows Personal Injury Lawyers Today!

It sounds like science fiction, but the driverless cars are coming. Google has been testing the technology in several states out west for months now, and it’s only a matter of time until they’re on the roads of Illinois (if they’re not here or already).

While road tests so far indicate that the driverless cars are remarkably safe, and could even help cut down on distracted driving, drunk driving, and all other types of human error that lead to car crash, driverless cars also aren’t fool-proof. Earlier this year, one of Google’s driverless cars, a Lexus SUV, was involved in a low-speed collision with a bus while changing lanes in Mountain View, California. Thankfully, no injuries were reported, but this incident does raise an interesting question: if you’re struck by a car without driver, who do you sue for your injuries?

A “Bottomless List of Defendants”

Right now, if you’re struck by a driver, you’ll have to show that he was negligent. This means that if the case goes to trial in Illinois, you’ll have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant did not show you a reasonable duty of care, resulting in your injuries. If you can prove that, you receive a monetary award.

But there isn’t another driver to sue if a driverless car hits you. That doesn’t mean that no one is at fault, however. As an Insurance Journal article recently put it, accidents caused by driverless cars actually mean there’s a “bottomless list of defendants” in such cases.

First, there’s the manufacturer of the software that operated the vehicle. What sort of defects were involved in its creation? Was it designed with errors? Did the software designer program it negligently? Did the company knowingly implement it in thousands of cars knowing that it had errors? These are the types of questions that will need to be answered in personal injury cases involving driverless cars.

And the manufacturer of the software is just the beginning of the possible defendants. Google right now is pledging to defend any accidents blamed on its driverless cars, but what if an accident appears to have been caused by a faulty piece of equipment manufactured by another company? Then that manufacturer could also be added as a defendant. And if it can’t be determined which company was at fault, then they could both be on the hook for any damages resulting from a driverless car accident.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Personal Injury Attorney Today

It will likely be several years before we hear more about accidents involving driverless cars, so for now most personal injury cases focus on human error related to driving a car. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and want to speak with an attorney about your case, contact SAM LAW OFFICE LLC in Rolling Meadows today for a consultation.

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