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Self-driving cars could make accidents even more complicated

One of the major issues that will certainly arise in the coming years is how do automated aspects of motor vehicles affect liability in a car accident? Of course, many Phoenix residents will immediately think of a self-driving car when they hear “automated” and “motor vehicle” together — and we are talking about autonomous vehicles, which will probably become part of society in the next decade or so.

However, there are other automated aspects to discuss too. Newer vehicles today have systems that allow the car to park itself. Many motor vehicles have lane departure warning systems that alert drivers if they start to sway and drift in their lane. Even more traditional car aspects such as cruise control and anti-lock brakes are automated systems.

Should these systems fail, there could be a premises liability lawsuit filed by the victims of any accident caused by the malfunction equipment.

The writer of our source article seems to think that the current laws are adequate enough to deal with the complex situations that can arise when automated equipment or automated cars are involved in an accident. That may be, but there will still be confusion among the people involved in the wreck. Self-driving cars are a brave new world for the driving public, and there is bound to be a transitional period after they are released.

So what does all mean for your average driver? It’s really just a reminder about how even seemingly simple scenarios may turn out to be anything but simple. When legal action is involved, it behooves you to have experienced counsel to advise you.

Source: Brookings.edu, “Who Pays for a Car Accident When There is no Driver?,” Joshua Bleiberg, April 28, 2014

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