Did you get hurt in an accident with a self-driving car? Do you want to pursue financial compensation for your injuries? If so, contact Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP today. We might be able to help you with your case.
Self-driving cars are an amazing invention. They can transform our entire experience on the road. While there are various benefits to self-driving vehicles, there are still some real dangers to consider. Machines sometimes malfunction, and if a self-driving car doesn’t work as intended, you could end up with a severe injury.
Our Lexington car accident attorneys are well-versed in self-driving car cases, and we can help you understand your legal options. To speak with one of our self-driving car accident lawyers at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP, contact or call (859) 550-2900 to schedule a free consultation so that we can review the details of your case.
How Do Self-Driving Cars Work?
Self-driving, or autonomous, vehicles use sensors to determine their location and maintain a map of what’s surrounding them. There are four types of sensors available:
- Radar: Radio waves track and monitor other vehicles around it in real-time.
- Ultrasonic: Sound waves typically installed in wheels to locate curbs and obstacles while self-parking.
- Image: Cameras read traffic signs and locate obstacles, pedestrians, and other cars.
- LiDAR: Laser beams can detect details within the car’s environment, such as lane markings.
Some self-driving cars are still in development and only contain partially autonomous features. For these vehicles, the driver still needs to control certain aspects of its operation. Other cars are entirely autonomous and allow the driver to give up control and relax while doing all the work for them. Some examples of features found in a self-driving vehicle include:
- Adaptive cruise control
- Self-park steering
- Lane-centering steering
- Self-park acceleration and braking
Kentucky Laws for Self-Driving Vehicles
Lawmakers in Kentucky haven’t enacted that many laws to regulate the use of self-driving cars and protect the drivers if an accident occurs. The Department of Transportation adopted a system to determine the standards of self-driving vehicles. They fall under six different levels:
- Level 0: A human must operate the car.
- Level 1: The car contains a driver-assistance system; however, a human must do most of the driving.
- Level 2: There’s partial automation of the vehicle, but a human driver must be present.
- Level 3: The car is completely autonomous, but there must be a human driver to intervene if there’s an error.
- Level 4: The vehicle can solve problems on its own without human intervention in certain circumstances.
- Level 5: The automated driving system (ADS) can perform all of the driving tasks under all circumstances.
The thought of a level 5 vehicle on the road is a bit scary. Although self-driving cars might eliminate drunk driving accidents and other human errors, autonomous vehicles are still machines that could malfunction or contain a defect that leads to a crash. If the driver isn’t able to override the system to prevent an accident, severe injuries or fatalities could occur.
The Impact of Self-Driving Cars
We might not be able to predict all the effects of self-driving vehicles, and there will certainly be benefits. For example, self-driving cars may eventually free up those commuting minutes and hours, buying us one of the most valuable resources – time. Also, anyone with a disability who can’t drive themselves will benefit from autonomous cars.
In addition, self-driving cars may indeed make the roads safer. Negligent actions, such as speeding, texting, and driving under the influence, become less of an issue when self-driving cars are partially – and someday, fully – manning the helm.
However, self-driving cars come with inherent dangers, as well. Self-driving cars involve dozens of computers and complex software programs, and the sensors are not without glitches. Just one error in the software or hardware could result in severe injuries or death for the driver and passengers.
Also, a concern with today’s self-driving cars is still human error. Most of today’s self-driving cars are at a crossroads, involving partial automation and partial control by the human driver. Drivers may pay less attention to the road than they would otherwise. They may not always be prepared to take control of the vehicle when they need to, which could have disastrous results.
Who’s Liable for a Self-Driving Car Accident?
There aren’t many laws regarding liability for self-driving car crashes. The technology is still fairly new, and legislatures haven’t found a way to regulate this industry. However, if you get hurt in a car accident, you’ll need an experienced lawyer to investigate who was at fault and hold that party liable.
When you hire Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP, we’ll launch a thorough investigation into the crash. In a regular car accident, it’s often obvious who was at fault, such as a driver who was speeding or failed to yield the right of way. However, when a self-driving car is involved, it could be the driver, or there could be several companies responsible for the defective part or malfunctioning software.
One company might have created the software and artificial intelligence, while another provided hardware, such as the sensors, and a third used all of the parts to manufacture the vehicle. It could be challenging to determine if a defective part or the car as a whole malfunctioned somehow. It will be our job to review all the evidence to determine what happened and who may be financially responsible for your injuries.
You Might Be Eligible for Compensation of Your Damages
If you win your case, you could reimburse your damages. Damages are the total losses suffered as a result of an accident or injury. The damages available in a self-driving car accident claim could include the following:
- Medical costs
- Out of pocket expenses
- Lost wages
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of quality of life
The amount you receive will depend on various factors surrounding the crash. You’ll likely receive a higher financial award if you sustained a severe injury that required months of medical care. Conversely, if you suffered a minor injury that only took a few weeks to recover from, your compensation will probably be minimal.
Contact Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP for a Free Consultation
If you were the victim of a self-driving car accident, contact us immediately. We’ll help you seek justice for the suffering you had to endure and recover the maximum compensation available. We know this is a traumatic time in your life, and we will help you get through it.
Our Lexington car accident lawyers have the experience, skills, and knowledge to handle cases like yours. Call us at (859) 550-2900 today if you were the victim of a self-driving car accident, and you’re interested in seeking legal representation.