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Self-Driving Car Accidents & Injuries in California

With the evolution of motor vehicle technology comes new risks. A common evolution of automotive technology that has presented new dangers is the autopilot feature on vehicles. Despite claims to the contrary, self-driving cars currently have a higher rate of accidents than human-driven cars. On average, there are 9.1 self-driving car accidents per million miles driven, while the same rate is 4.1 crashes per million miles for regular vehicles.

If you’ve been injured in a self-driving car accident, contact our San Francisco car accident attorneys today at (415) 688-2176. We can guide you through the process to obtain compensation for your injuries.

History of Self-Driving Car Crashes

Since the 1950s, safety features, such as cruise control and antilock brakes have been introduced in many vehicles. Although fully self-driving cars are not yet commercially available to the public, many vehicles have an advanced¬† “autopilot” feature that boosts cars and lets them run by themselves. The automotive industry expects to see fully automated safety features in 2025+.

What Can Go Wrong with Automated Vehicles?

Autopilot features give drivers a false sense of security leaving drivers with the impression that they don’t need to keep their focus on the road. In fact, most self-driving car accidents have been the result of the human driver being distracted.

One of the most recent accidents involving the new self-driving technology occurred in April of this year. Two men were killed in Texas after a Tesla they were in crashed and caught on fire with neither of the men behind the wheel. Physical evidence from the scene and interviews with witnesses led officials to believe that no one was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.

Dangers of Automated Vehicles

One of the most dangerous features of automated vehicles is the Lithium-Ion (L1) batteries that are known to be highly combustible. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, these batteries often cause uncontrolled increases in temperature and pressure – increasing the risk of drivers involved in accidents. Car accidents involving L1 batteries can cause explosions of toxic gases, the release of projectiles, and fires. The April Tesla accident mentioned above resulted in a massive fire that took four hours to put out when it normally should take minutes.

Who Is Liable in a Self-Driving Car Accident?

California is a “fault” state that adheres to comparative negligence laws. Usually, you can seek damages from the driver that caused the accident – however, it is not that simple with self-driving car accidents.

  • Human: There are cases when the driver would be at fault for the accident if they engaged in negligent behavior. For example, if the driver was on autopilot and was speeding or ran a red light, they may be liable for the accident.
  • Manufacture: If the vehicle’s defective features caused the accident, they might be held liable for the accident. Product liability for autonomous vehicles could include manufacturing defects, design defects, or the inability or failure to warn.

What Should I Do If I Was Injured?

If you were involved in a car accident of any kind, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. Many drivers involved in an accident don’t experience symptoms right away. If you have sustained injuries or property damage, you can seek compensation with the help of our San Francisco car accident attorneys. We can investigate your case and help you determine who should be held liable. Our team has recovered billions of dollars on behalf of our clients. Let our team guide you through the difficult time after a car accident.

Contact our California car accident attorneys today at (415) 688-2176 to schedule a consultation!

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