The Increasing Proliferation of Self-Driving Cars in California… and What Happens When They Cause a Crash

The Increasing Proliferation of Self-Driving Cars in California… and What Happens When They Cause a Crash

A series of TV commercials for insurance make light of various forms of "mayhem," some of which arise as a result of unsafe driving. In the real world, driver negligence behind the wheel often causes harm to others, including serious injuries. If that's happened to you, an experienced Santa Barbara car accident lawyer can help you to get justice through fair compensation for your injuries.

In late June, the maker of mayhem on Santa Barbara's roads was a self-driving Tesla. A report from KRON revealed some of the results of a test drive in which Tesla's "newly released Full Self-Driving" software controlled a Model S.

The test drive included a near incident with a garbage truck that was backing up and another one at a four-way intersection where the Model S appeared not to be stopping (and headed for a crash with an SUV.) In both instances, Tesla inventor Ross Gerber assumed the vehicle's controls to avoid problems.

KRON also reported that last month one "Twitter user posted video of their Tesla choosing to travel through a crosswalk with a pedestrian in it, even though the vehicle identified the pedestrian in its view finder."

Last November, a Tesla with self-driving technology was involved in a major crash on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. According to the car's driver, the self-driving technology guided the vehicle through a lane change and then abruptly brought the car to a full stop in the middle of the open lane. Traffic, which had been moving at 55 mph, quickly piled up in a chain-reaction accident behind the Tesla. Two of the people involved were hurt significantly enough that they were rushed to the hospital.

A Self-Driving Car Crash May Mean Multiple Liable Parties

If you're hurt in an accident like this, there may be multiple entities who are potentially liable for the harm you have endured (and will suffer) as a result of the crash. Certainly, the vehicle manufacturer represents one possibly liable party, but they may not be alone. If the evidence accumulated in your case shows that the car crashed because the autopilot software malfunctioned or failed in some way, then that proof could create a viable claim against the company that developed and manufactured that software.

The law may allow your case to proceed using a single theory or multiple theories. You may have a product liability case for an improperly designed and/or made product -- such as an auto part or a piece of computer software -- as the law imposes a duty on manufacturers to produce safe products. You may also have a negligence action. For example, if an auto manufacturer that makes self-driving vehicles put vehicles on the market that it knew or reasonably should have known to be unreasonably unsafe, then that's a potential negligence claim.

Any car accident case can be complex. These cases become even more complicated when they involve a product that malfunctioned, such as the controls of a self-driving car. Whatever unique challenges your case presents, count on the knowledgeable Santa Barbara car accident attorneys at the law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP to have the experience necessary to take your unique facts and give you the strongest case possible. Contact us at 805-617-1365 or through our website to get a free case consultation today.


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