Several different autonomous vehicles have been involved in accidents in recent months and years. However, the courts and judges have not yet had to deal with the potentially far reaching implications of making a decision about responsibility.
Autonomous vehicles are slowly making their way towards representing a larger portion of cars on the road, but there are still many legal issues to be answered about who is liable in an accident. Makers of these autonomous cars say that many of the accidents that have already occurred were due to another driver’s error, an issue the courts will grapple with in coming years.
Last year, a Chevy Bolt was changing lanes on a highway in California when it struck a motorbike in the other lane. The motorbike rider filed a personal injury lawsuit because of his severe shoulder and neck injuries. There are thousands of these types of accidents every day, but what makes this one distinct is that the Chevy involved in the crash was operating in autonomous mode at the time, meaning that General Motors finds itself at the helm of one of the first accident lawsuits involving an autonomous vehicle.
The lawyer for the injured motorbike rider alleges that the Chevy suddenly swerved into the other lane. However, a collision report filed by the San Francisco Police Department clarified that the motorcyclist actually merged into the driving lane before it was safe to do so.
This lawsuit might seem like a typical personal injury suit involving allegations of severe injuries and damage, however, what makes it different could dictate whether or not enough has been done to develop laws in the United States to address lawsuits that emerge over autonomous vehicles.