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Who is Liable When an Automated Car Fails?

Posted on in Car Accidents

appleton car crash lawyerSince around 2016, vehicles with varying levels of automated driving systems have been hitting the roads in the Chicago area. Cars are getting smarter - most new cars on the market today offer some level of automation that was not available even five years ago. But these systems are not failproof on their own. Human error is still the culprit in most car accidents involving automated vehicles. If you have been hurt in a car accident where automation is involved, you will need an experienced attorney on your side to give you the best chance of recovering all the compensation you deserve. 

What is Vehicle Automation? 

There is a wide range of technology that falls under the umbrella of “automation” when it comes to cars. The term refers to much more than just the truly driverless cars many see as the future of transportation. Most “automated” cars you see on the roads still require some degree of human input and require a person to be in the driver’s seat, prepared to take over if necessary. It is unlikely, but not impossible, that you will step out of your vehicle after an accident to speak to the other driver only to find that there is no other driver. 

The more commonly available technology involves a car that is mostly driven by a human, but with some automated processes. For example, a car may feature automatic parallel parking, automatic braking when a rear-bumper camera detects that something is behind the vehicle, or even automatic lane changing, where the human driver simply activates the turn signal and allows the car to merge on its own. The problem is that these technologies sometimes fail and cause accidents, leaving questions about who is liable to the injured party. 

Who is Liable for Injuries Caused by Automation Failures? 

This can be a complicated and fact-intensive analysis best left to an experienced law firm. It will depend heavily on the degree of automation, whether a human driver acted negligently, and what type of error actually caused a particular accident. If a truly driverless car runs a red light and t-bones another vehicle, that is a very different legal situation than a car striking a pedestrian while attempting to parallel park itself as the human driver checks his email. In the former case, the company that made the driverless car is likely to be liable under products liability laws. In the latter case, the human driver is most likely liable because automation aside, he should have been paying attention and ready to brake if needed. 

Call a Cook County Car Accident Lawyer

The field of automation-related car accidents is still a very new field of law. If you were hurt in an accident involving an automated vehicle with or without a human driver, you may feel as if there are more questions than answers. Call James A. Payonk, Attorney at Law at 708-966-2408 for a free consultation to begin finding answers. In any car accident case, you must not wait too long to contact an attorney. Evidence from the scene of the crash needs to be collected quickly, before cleanup is completed and physical evidence is lost. Contact an Orland Park Car Accidents Attorney today so we can begin fighting to recover compensation for you. 





James A. Payonk, Jr.

10705 W 159th St.
Orland Park, Illinois 60467

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