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The self-driving car accident rate varies because there are so many kinds of self-driving cars, and there is still much technological innovation in the market of self-driving vehicles. Accidents involving Tesla vehicles are on the rise, but the company claims that its cars are less likely to crash in autopilot mode and less likely to crash than other cars overall. Self-Driving car accident lawyers in Corpus Christi help those who have been in an accident involving a self-driving car.
This article will describe what self-driving cars are, what to do if you are in an accident, who to sue and how, and how a Corpus Christi injury lawyer can help.
What is a self-driving car?
Self-driving cars can reduce or eliminate human inattention or error by alerting drivers or correcting them. This could potentially reduce the number of crashes that occur on our highways each year. They also are a viable path forward for driving individuals who cannot drive themselves, such as seniors or disabled individuals.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) describes various levels of self-driving vehicles, from those that have momentary driver assistance to those that are fully automated. We will explore each of the levels of self-driving vehicles from the least automated to the most automated so that you can confirm the vehicle involved in your crash was a self-driving vehicle. Note that some of these levels are not available for consumer purchase in the United States, but they are the future of self-driving vehicles.
Momentary Driver Assistance
Cars that have momentary driving assistance still require that the driver remain engaged and attentive. The driver is still ultimately responsible for steering, braking, and accelerating.
The self-driving features of cars with momentary driver assistance include warnings and alerts when the car departs from a lane without signaling or when the car might have a forward collision. Automatic emergency braking also falls under this category.
The next level of automation incorporates more assistance than momentary driver assistance. Rather than merely warning when a driver crosses a lane without signaling, these vehicles move the steering wheel to direct the vehicle back into the correct lane when the driver veers out of his or her lane. This category of self-driving car also includes adaptive cruise control, which means that the vehicle adjusts its speed to keep enough distance between it and the vehicle in front of it.
Even with driver assistance, the driver must continue to be attentive and engaged while driving the vehicle.
Under the next level of automation, which is the highest level of automation available for consumer purchase, the vehicle can perform steering along with acceleration and braking. The vehicle does this continuously rather than as a correction to the driver’s error. Importantly, the driver under this system must remain fully engaged and attentive, but when the highway pilot is engaged, the driver typically does not need to adjust the speed or steering. Conditional Automation
All of the next levels of automation are not available for consumer purchase in the United States but could be available in the near future. With conditional automation, the vehicle takes over all parts of driving while the driver remains available to drive if the vehicle’s system requests it.
With high automation, a human driver would not be needed to operate the vehicle. The person in the vehicle would instead be the passenger. However, there would be limited service areas in which the vehicle could operate.
Finally, with full automation, a human driver would not be needed to operate the vehicle and the vehicle would be able to operate on all roads and under all conditions.
What causes a self-driving car accident?
You might expect cars that are self-driving to be able to avoid being involved in any car accidents at all. Unfortunately, these cars still get in accidents—usually because of human error. As one report puts it, autonomous vehicles “don’t mistake forward and reverse gears.” Therefore, the kinds of accidents that automated cars get into are very similar to typical accidents.
One could argue that the self-driving features of certain vehicles causes drivers to rely on those features and pay less attention while driving. However, distracted driving is already a major cause of accidents even without taking self-driving vehicles into account.
Other common causes of accidents include drunk driving, brake failure, inclement weather conditions, reckless driving, pedestrian accidents, and truck accidents.
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What to do if you are in a self-driving car accident in Corpus Christi
If you are in an accident with an automated vehicle or any other vehicle, there are steps you should take to ensure your own well-being and to preserve the strength of your case so that you can recover against the person who caused your injuries. If you are reading this, you may have already been in such an accident.
Take Account of Your Injuries
First, if you sustain a serious injury when the accident occurs, you may not be able to exit your vehicle or complete some of the other actions listed below. You or someone else should call 911 as quickly as possible so that you can receive the emergency medical care you need. While you will not be able to form your own record at the scene of the accident, you can rely on the crash report and the strong evidence of your injuries to build your claim against the driver who caused the accident. A Corpus Christi car accident attorney can work with you to help you see what pieces of evidence you might be missing.
If you did not suffer any serious injuries at the scene of the accident and do not require emergency medical care, then you can proceed to investigate the accident scene. Regardless, schedule a visit with your doctor soon after the accident to confirm that your injuries are not severe. Sometimes an injury appears minor but turns out to be life-altering. For example, symptoms of a brain or spinal injury might only creep up and become obvious once the cuts, bruises, and sprains fade away.
As you follow up with your doctor, keep all of the documentation that describes the diagnoses and treatment you received along with the cost of visits and treatment. This is evidence of the injury itself, the cost of the injury, and the amount of pain and suffering you sustained as a result of the injury.
Call the Police
Importantly, call the police to draw up a crash report. The crash report includes much of the information you gathered regarding the identity of the drivers, their insurance information, the types of vehicles involved in the crash, some kind of narrative about how the crash occurred, and a diagram of the accident scene. It becomes publicly available a few days after the accident occurs, and you will be able to compare the crash report against your own version of the events to see if they align.
Gather Available Evidence
As previously mentioned, you might be able to exit your car and investigate the scene of the accident if you did not appear to be seriously injured. Carefully examine the accident scene and try to determine what happened. Talk to the other drivers involved and exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information. Try to get the same contact information from anyone who saw the accident. If you have a phone with a camera or you happen to have a camera with you, take pictures of the accident scene, including the damage to the vehicles.
Call a Self-Driving Car Accident Lawyer
At this stage, it would be helpful to talk to a Corpus Christi car accident attorney. The self-driving car accident lawyer can help you investigate further by looking into whether you or the other driver was at fault for the accident. If you were more at fault then the other driver, you may not be compensated for your injuries. A lawyer can draw on his or her experience of past cases to gauge your chances of success.
To determine fault, your lawyer can look into the crash report and interview the witnesses whose contact information you gathered while you were at the accident scene. As the lawyer listens to the witnesses’ perspectives of the events leading up to the crash, they can determine who will be a good witness for you and what your best legal strategy will be moving forward.
Who is at fault in a self-driving car case?
If you were in an accident with someone who was driving an automated car, the person driving the automated car might attempt to argue that he or she should not be held responsible because the manufacturer of the car created the automated system that was in operation when the test occurred. This is the argument that the victims of a Tesla crash are attempting to make in order to receive compensation for their injuries from Tesla.
That accident occurred when the driver of a Tesla who was operating on its highway pilot feature ran a red light, slammed into another car and killed two people. The driver in that accident is the first person in the United States to be charged with a felony for a fatal crash involving a person using a partially automated driving system.
However, as we explained earlier, NHTSA emphasizes that the driver must still be attentive and engaged while a car is operating in a highway pilot mode. It is safest to get the help of an experienced car accident lawyer to help you determine fault in your unique case.
The legal theory of negligence
In many car crashes, the appropriate legal theory for the victim to use in his or her claim is negligence. A negligence claim requires the victim to show that the following four elements are true:
- 1. The other driver owed the victim a duty of care.
- 2. The other driver breached the duty of care that he or she owed the victim.
- 3. The victim received an injury for which he or she can be compensated.
- 4. The other driver caused the victim’s injury.
You may have noticed that the first two elements of negligence relate to the other driver’s duty of care and the second two elements relate to the victim’s injury. We will investigate those two concepts in the following sections.
The Other Driver’s Duty of Care
The duty of care the average driver should take while driving is typically the level of care that a reasonable person under the same circumstances would take. For example, a reasonable driver slows down, turns on his or her headlights, and uses the car’s windshield wipers in heavy rain.
A driver breaches his or her legal duty of care when he or she performs an act or omission inconsistent with the standard of care that a reasonable person would take. A lawyer can help you understand what the duty of care was in your case and whether the other driver failed to maintain the correct level of care.
The Victim’s Injury
The victim must suffer a compensable injury, meaning that the injury does not only exist in the victim’s mind. For example, if the other driver cut the victim off and the victim’s only injury is that he or she was upset at having to break suddenly, the victim has likely not received an injury for which he or she can receive compensation. Most physical injuries will be compensable. Additionally, the other driver must have caused the driver’s injury.
A Corpus Christi car accident lawyer from Zinda Law group is ready to talk to you
Drivers responsible for car accidents should pay for the damage that their negligence caused to the victims of the accidents. If you do not file suit against the person who caused your injury, you might spend years paying for the injury.. As a victim of a car accident, you have likely already had to miss out on work and time with family and friends. You do not deserve to keep missing out.
A Corpus Christi injury attorney can help you with the preliminary questions of fault and who the defendant would be in your case. The Corpus Christi car accident attorney can draw on his or her expertise and experience to give you an idea of the strength of your case and whether it will be worth your time and effort to file suit given the amount of compensation you would likely be able to receive.
Even if you decide not to file suit, the consultation is free. Call (800) 863-5312 to schedule your appointment with a Zinda Law Group Corpus Christi car accident lawyer to meet a lawyer who wants to help you recover. If we take your case, you can benefit from our No Win, No Fee Guarantee, and you will not owe us anything unless we win your case for you.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.