The Dark Side of Driverless Cars: Navigating the Legal Fallout of Accidents

In the not-so-distant future, driverless cars will be a common sight on American roads. The driverless car market is set to hit $186.40 billion by 2030 from $4 billion in 2021. As technology develops and becomes more efficient, autonomous vehicles are expected to become ubiquitous in everyday lives within just a few years.

Take the example of BMW. Even BMW plans to bring level 3 autonomous car technology to its lineup by 2025. However, this new wave of transportation has come with its legal complications. The most significant legal complication is who should be held accountable if an accident occurs when no one is driving.

Driverless Cars Are on the Rise in the United States

Driverless cars are on the rise in the United States. In fact, driverless vehicles have been tested in many states and are legal for use on public roads in some of those states. But they aren’t yet legal everywhere.

In California and Florida, for instance, you can ride as a passenger in a driverless vehicle. Nevada will let you ride solo as well as with an operator present. Michigan allows both types of tests but not operation by non-experts without an operator present. New York prohibits all commercial use of self-driving vehicles except for testing under certain conditions.

Many such states have legalized the use of autonomous cars on the road. However, many Americans are against using these cars due to the risks involved. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 44% of US adults are not ok with the idea of driverless cars due to the risks involved.

Increasing Accidents Caused By Driverless Cars

As driverless cars become more common, they’re also becoming more dangerous. In March 2018, an autonomous Uber vehicle hit and killed a woman in Arizona. The incident was likely the first fatal crash involving a driverless car, and it shows just how complicated the legal fallout can be if you are involved in an accident with one of these vehicles.

The exact cause of this particular crash is still unclear because no witnesses or body cameras were on board. However, this tragic event sparked debate over who should be held responsible for accidents caused by driverless cars, manufacturers like Uber? Or maybe the owners themselves? This confusion has led many states to pass legislation regarding liability.

Such accidents have increased recently. According to National Public Radio, fully autonomous cars caused 130 crashes in 2021. However, there’s still no consensus on how things will play out legally when it comes time for lawsuits over damages caused by self-driving vehicles.

Who Is Held Accountable for Driverless Car Accidents?

When an autonomous vehicle crashes, who is held accountable? Well, there’s no straightforward answer to this, as there are many parties who can be at fault.

If a driverless car causes an accident, it could be liable for civil damages under traditional tort law. But what about criminal liability? Would someone be charged with vehicular manslaughter if their self-driving car kills someone? Or would the software developer or manufacturer of that vehicle face criminal charges instead?

The short answer is yes. All three parties can sometimes be held responsible for injuries caused by their products. But many exceptions to this rule make it challenging to predict who will be held liable in any given incident involving an autonomous vehicle crash.

For example, in the Arizona incident discussed above, the car operator behind the wheels was charged with death. This is because Vasquez, the operator, was distracted by her mobile when the accident occurred. However, Uber could have been easily accused of death if this fact had been ignored.

Navigating the Legal Fallout of Driverless Car Accidents

If you’ve been in a driverless car accident, the first thing to do is remain calm. It’s natural to feel scared and uncertain about what will happen next. Don’t hesitate to contact your attorney. Whether it’s a regular or autonomous car, you’ll want someone who knows their way around the legal system, especially when dealing with driverless cars.

When selecting a car accident lawyer or firm, consider the experience and the costs. Many attorneys don’t charge you unless they win the case for you. For instance, when you hire an accident lawyer from Sutliff & Stout law firm, you won’t pay anything unless you win.

Once you’ve got legal representation on your side, here are some tips for getting through court:

Document the Accident

As soon as you can, you should document the accident. This can be done by taking photos, and video of the scene, including any damage to your vehicle or injuries suffered in the accident.

You should also record any injuries you suffered during the crash and any damage caused. If possible, note where exactly on your body those injuries occurred so we can use this information later when determining whether they were caused by driverless car negligence.

Finally, keep track of all relevant information about other vehicles involved in the accident, including their license plates and when it happened.

Get Medical Attention

You must get the required medical attention if you’re involved in a car accident and hurt. Don’t move the vehicle until law enforcement arrives and tells you it’s safe. If your car has been damaged, don’t try to fix it yourself.

Instead, you must focus on being as specific as possible about your injuries and taking pictures of the accident scene before anyone leaves their vehicles for help or repairs. When getting medical treatment, keep all the invoices with you. This will help document your expenses and cover them in your claim.

Pursue Compensation

If you’ve been injured in an accident with a driverless car, you may be able to pursue compensation. But the process can be complicated. Insurance companies have been known to deny claims regarding autonomous vehicle accidents, so you must contact an attorney as soon as possible.

An attorney will have the right knowledge and expertise to help you navigate the legal system as easily as possible. Your lawyer will also ensure that any injuries sustained in the accident are considered when determining how much money the insurance company or manufacturer should pay for this new technology.


Contact an attorney immediately if you have been involved in a driverless car accident. While finding who is at fault in the accident can be challenging, your lawyer will be in a better position to help you out.

You must also seek medical attention immediately to avoid any significant complications. Also, refrain from posting anything on social media platforms, as it can go against you if things go to trial. Lastly, work with your attorney to get compensation for your troubles.