At the moment, there are about 6 million car accidents that take place in the U.S. every year. And after the majority of these accidents, those investigating them usually ask just one question: “What did the drivers involved in the accident do wrong in the seconds leading up to the crash?” It’s people, not vehicles, that cause almost all of today’s car accidents.
That is likely going to change in the not-too-distant future, though, as more and more car manufacturers begin to produce autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles.
Once self-driving vehicles begin to hit the U.S. roads in droves, those investigating car accidents won’t JUST question the actions of human drivers anymore in the aftermath of crashes. They’ll also take a (longer) look at what went wrong inside of self-driving vehicles prior to accidents. They’ll investigate a self-driving vehicle’s hardware and software to determine what technological malfunctions MAY HAVE occurred just before a crash happened.
This will likely lead to an uptick in product liability litigation in the years to come. There have already been a few lawsuits filed by those injured in car accidents involving self-driving vehicles, including the Nilsson vs. General Motors LLC case filed in California in December 2017 after a self-driving car hit a man driving on a motorcycle and caused extensive injuries to his neck and shoulders. And there will probably be a lot more like it filed in the near future.
Car manufacturers are doing their best to outfit self-driving cars with technology to keep everyone safe. But since technology is far from failproof, there will always be some risk associated with self-driving cars, which will inevitably lead to an increase in product liability litigation over time.
At 4N6XPRT Systems, we understand the importance of vehicle safety. We’ve spent more than 20 years developing powerful accident reconstruction software tools like 4N6XPRT StifCalcs to help attorneys, insurance companies and law enforcement agencies establish fault in car accidents.