MIT researchers have developed an autonomous wheelchair that can take people where they ask to go. The chair learns about its environment by listening as a patient identifies locations, such as “this is my room” or “we are in the kitchen,” and builds maps using Wi-Fi, which works well indoors (unlike GPS). But will these new wheelchairs cause accidents and personal injury?
Our personal injury attorneys agree that this may be a major breakthrough in terms of convenience and accessibility for paraplegics. Our personal injury law firm is concerned with another aspect, however: the safety of an autonomous wheelchair and ruling out of the human factor. For instance, What happens when the wheelchair malfunctions or cannot react in time?
The wheelchair may be able to decide not to cross the street when there are detectable cars, but in the case of a car making a sharp turn around the corner speeding at 60 mph, that may be the last thing the smart wheelchair or its owner sees. In other words, we believe that the electric wheelchair could also cause wrongful death pedestrian accidents.
As personal injury lawyers, we wonder what happens when the wheelchair malfunctions? For instance, if it runs out of power right as a car is coming head-on at high speeds, the owner would be involved in a fatal pedestrian accident. And if the wiring becomes unraveled, wrongful placed, etc., the owner’s could be seriously injured and require medical bills, or worse, killed in a wrongful death accident.
Our personal injury law firm supports the development of technology, especially car accident prevention technology, but this new innovation should be put through many more tests before being released to the public. Only that way may the owners of these wheelchairs be properly protected from wrongful death pedestrian accidents.
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SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines