Los Angeles-- the city where many of the rich and famous dwell. These people have so much money that they can afford the latest in car technology, including self-driving cars from manufacturers like Tesla and Mercedes-Benz. Unfortunately, legal matters do not always automatically update with technology. That is the problem people are running into when self-driving cars fail to avoid car accidents and the wealthy owners are faced with personal injury lawsuits.
Who Is to Blame?
If you were walking, biking or driving down the streets of L.A. and a self-driving car hit you, who is to blame? The wealthy owner and "driver" of this driverless vehicle, or the manufacturer of the vehicle? It would be a new kind of legal case for L.A. county court, to be sure. Even though the car is registered to and owned by a wealthy citizen, it does not mean that he or she could be sued. Clearly, the driverless vehicle has a large part to play in all this because it should have fail-safes that prevent accidents.
A personal injury attorney in L.A. would have to argue on your behalf that the owner should pay something, since it was his/her vehicle. However, the manufacturer should pay something as well, since their driverless vehicle should have stopped before hitting you. It would have to play out in court to see who compensates you for what.
The Personal Injury Attorney across from You
The wealthy owner of this driverless vehicle will undoubtedly hire one of the best personal injury attorneys in the county of L.A. His or her lawyer may argue that he/she has no responsibility in this case because he/she was not driving. A clever argument and a truthful one, but the fact remains that something he/she owns hurt you. Meanwhile, both of you may be suing the manufacturer for the damages and injuries incurred. It is a strange case, indeed, but one that will probably be more common in the next twenty or thirty years anyway.
Ongoing Accidents with Driverless Cars in L.A.
The precedent with driverless car accidents has been set, but the law has not yet quite caught up to what should be done. For this reason, there are no laws on the California books regarding these kinds of vehicles. You should expect any number of outcomes from your accident, including no compensation because the case may be ruled entirely in the wealthy "driver's" favor.