Self-Driving Vehicle Accidents

Car Crash Lawyers Assisting Victims in Miami and Beyond

Self-driving vehicles are widely touted as being safer than passenger cars driven by humans. However, there have been incidents of serious accidents involving self-driving vehicles. For example, there have been rear-end collisions and underride accidents in which a passenger car drove under a semi-truck. There is no special permit required to operate a self-driving car. If you are dealing with injuries arising out of a self-driving vehicle accident, you should consult the Miami car accident attorneys at our Law Offices of Robert Dixon.

Complexities Surrounding Self-Driving Vehicle Accidents

In Florida, all drivers must carry no-fault insurance coverage (personal injury protection or PIP coverage). This no-fault insurance is intended to cover minor medical expenses, irrespective of fault. However, PIP coverage does not cover catastrophic injuries. To recover compensation for more serious injuries, an injured person must seek damages from the at-fault party. Usually, the injured person must establish negligence by showing that it is more likely than not that the defendant owed a duty of care, but the defendant breached the duty and thereby caused the accident.

However, it is not yet entirely clear how an injured plaintiff can recover damages if the other driver's car was self-driving because this is a new phenomenon. Many of the cars called "self-driving" are not fully autonomous and still require the input of a driver behind the wheel. Any driver, even those in self-driving cars, should be paying attention and looking out for risks. A person who puts a self-driving car on the road is responsible for it. Even if it is the technology that fails, you can be held responsible for the self-driving car's actions if they injured others on the road.

However, if the self-driving car caused injuries because of a defect, the owner may be able to sue for contribution from the car manufacturer or the business that manufactured the technology that malfunctioned. A self-driving car may be defective in its design or manufacturing. Under Florida Statute section 768.31, a manufacturer can be required to indemnify the owner of a defective car that harms others. In other words, you would be responsible, but you or your insurance carrier could sue the manufacturer to seek a contribution based on product liability law. You would need to establish that a manufacturing, design, or marketing defect caused the accident.

The particular facts of your case would determine how much of a contribution you could obtain. The right of contribution exists in favor of someone who committed a tort but has paid more than their pro rata share of the common liability. You would have more responsibility if you were in control of the self-driving car and bore fault for the harm that it caused. The manufacturer would have more responsibility if the car was simply defective. You could only obtain a contribution in the amount that you paid that was in excess of your pro rata share.

After the accident, it is critical to gather evidence to determine what happened to cause the self-driving vehicle accident. Among other things, it is important to call the police to the scene and obtain an official police report, any accident reconstruction reports, witness statements, photos, videos, notes from emergency medical services personnel and paramedics, surveillance footage from the street or any nearby private businesses, and crash data recorders.

If your attorney can establish another party's liability for a self-driving vehicle accident, you may be able to recover economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and replacement services. Noneconomic damages are intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, and loss of consortium.

Seek Advice from a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer in Miami

Self-driving vehicle accidents can cause serious injuries or even a wrongful death. If you are injured in a self-driving vehicle accident, you should contact the attorneys at our Law Offices of Robert Dixon. We represent injured people in Miami, West Palm Beach, and other cities in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. Call us at 877.499.4878 or complete our online form.