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Driverless Cars: Who Is at Fault if You’re Hit on Chicago’s Roadways

On Behalf of | Car Accidents

Driverless cars and self-driving cars seem to be the wave of the future, and they’re gaining in popularity. Between cars that can actually drive through crowded city streets to ones that parallel park in tight areas for you, the chances are good that you’ve seen at least one of these vehicles in the Windy City each day. But what happens if you get into an accident with one of these vehicles? Your Chicago car accident lawyers at Anesi Ozmon want you to be prepared. Here’s how to figure out who is at fault for the incident so you can better prepare your case.

Think About What Caused the Accident

Before you try to determine fault in a car accident, think about what happened leading up to the accident. Was there another driver involved? Did you inadvertently swerve to dodge a pothole? Were you distracted in any way? If you were, you could be liable for damages to your car and the driverless car.

If it’s clear that you didn’t cause the accident through negligence or chance, it’s likely that the other driver is responsible, even if they’re using a driverless car. The actions they took leading up to the collision will determine their liability. For example, if they were simply letting the car drive when they were supposed to keep an eye on the road, they may be liable. If they were texting and not paying attention to what was going on around them, they may be liable.

Consider the Level of Automation at the Time of the Accident

Ultimately, the level of automation the car was using at the time of the accident can determine who is liable for the accident. Most driverless cars on the road right now aren’t actually driverless cars. But the amount of assistance that the car’s software provides can determine liability in the accident.

The less assistance the driver receives from the vehicle, the more likely it is that they’re liable for your injuries and damages if you’re not at fault for the crash. But the more assistance the software provides, the more difficult it is to prove liability. Car insurance companies may use the amount of assistance the vehicle receives to determine if they need to provide a settlement.

The Manufacturer or Software Designer May Be Liable

It depends on the level of automation at the time of the incident. Currently, most self-driving cars require drivers behind the wheel. Manufacturers expect those drivers to effectively override the system and brake or steer the car to get out of sticky situations or to prevent accidents. However, there are some fully automated vehicles on the road that rely entirely on software programs to drive the car.

In instances like these, the passengers of the vehicle are not usually liable for any injuries you suffer or damage done to your car and property. Instead, the manufacturer of the car, the software designer, or both may be liable for damages.

Seek Help If You’re Involved in an Accident With a Driverless Car

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a driverless or self-driving car and are trying to get the other driver’s insurance company to pay you for your injuries, don’t try to go it alone. This new type of driving technology can complicate what should be a simple insurance claim and, as a result, you may not receive a fair initial settlement.

Instead, work with an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer and let them represent your interests. They’ll be able to review your case and all supplemental documentation to help identify the true party at fault. If the driver is liable for your damages, they can negotiate with the insurance company. But if the manufacturer of the car or the software designer is ultimately liable for your damages, they can represent your case and help you get the money you deserve.

Contact Anesi Ozmon today to schedule your free consultation.