Who Is At Fault For a Car Accident When There Was Nobody Driving?

Now that Google is developing and testing driverless cars, the California Department of Motor Vehicles is scrambling to draft new regulations to handle the questions raised by the new technology. Driverless cars use sophisticated recording software to allow the vehicle to drive itself. The technology may open up great new possibilities in giving blind people more transportation freedom and in combating drunk driving.  However, the DMV has to figure out how to make sure the cars are safe and do not pose a danger to California motorists. The new DMV regulations are required by law to be finalized by the end of next year.

Can Google be found liable in an accident involving a driverless car?

As technology advances to include cars that drive without drivers, it will be interesting to see the effect this has on the way car accidents are handled by insurance companies and in court. Traditional methods of determining liability in car accident cases assume all vehicles have drivers. The idea of a car operating without a driver raises many interesting legal questions:

  • Will a driverless car’s recording software’s data be admissible as evidence to show who caused the accident?
  • Who is liable if the computer malfunctions, causing an accident?
  • In a case where fault is disputed, will you be able to testify against a computer ― for example, claiming the driverless car ran the red light?
  • Can Google itself be held at least 1% liable for all accidents involving self-driving cars and forced to pay for all of the injured person’s medical costs?
  • Can the owner of a driverless car be held responsible for their car’s failure to avoid hitting a pedestrian?
  • Will a driverless car be able to detect children or animals crossing its path so as to be able to avoid an accident?
  • How will a driverless car affect insurance premiums?

While only time will tell how these questions will be answered, it will not be just the DMV that will have to adapt. It is important for anyone who has been injured in an accident in California to have an experienced California car accident attorney to help navigate all the legal issues that can arise so that you can get the monetary compensation you and your family deserve.

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