Self-Driving Car Accidents – Lawsuits

A recent study found that self-driving car accidents have caused over 100 claims of property damage and 3 injuries so far, but it’s estimated there will be billions more in the near future. The legal question is whether these damages should fall to the manufacturer or driver.

The “self-driving cars lawsuit” is a legal issue that has been going on for a while. The first case of a self-driving car accident was filed in 2017.

Self-Driving Car Accidents - Lawsuits

(As of November 12, 2018)

Self-driving vehicles are changing the way people think about driving and owning automobiles, converting “drivers” into passive passengers. Even while scientists suggest that self-driving vehicles are safer than the typical human driver, they may still crash.

Although mass manufacturing is still a few years away, autonomous driving technology, notably Tesla’s Model S, is said to have already resulted in two deaths. A class action lawsuit has been filed against Tesla for its autopilot system, which plaintiffs claim was marketed without conventional safety measures.

However, Tesla isn’t the only company that has placed dangerous self-driving cars on the road: Uber, Google, and General Motors vehicles have all crashed, undermining manufacturers’ assertions that self-driving cars are safer than human drivers.

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Do Self-Driving Cars Have Laws and Regulations?

Self-driving automobiles are being developed at a quicker rate than applicable legislation can be passed. Only 29 states have passed laws allowing self-driving cars as of November 2018.

The federal government issued the first Federal Automated Vehicles Policy in September of 2016. The policy defers to corporations on production details, but it does provide consistent safety rules, including a 15-point optional safety checklist that producers must sign.

However, a hodgepodge of state legislation has evolved in the previous year, ranging from Arizona’s rules requiring test vehicles to have a conventional vehicle registration to New York’s restrictions requiring cars to travel an authorized route with a police escort.

To remedy these discrepancies, the House and Senate Commerce Committees have enacted federal legislation giving the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) authority of self-driving automobiles. However, since both bills would expand the number of cars exempt from federal regulations—from 2,500 per year to at least 80,000 per year by year three—some consumer groups argue the proposed legislation is similar to treating Americans as “crash test dummies.”




Have there been any fatalities as a result of self-driving cars?

Tesla touts the safety of its autopilot software on its website, claiming that it “helps avoid front and side crashes, and prevents the vehicle from straying off the road.”

In Florida, Joshua Brown’s Model S was unable to avoid colliding with an 18-wheeler.

However, the Model S autopilot is said to have failed to prevent an accident with an 18-wheeler in Florida in May 2016. Because of its height and the glare from the bright sky, the automobile failed to spot the truck. Tesla’s owner, Joshua Brown, was slain. This is the first death linked to Tesla’s autopilot system.

Tesla released a software upgrade for Model S cars in September that improved the radar technology. This upgrade, according to Tesla, would have averted the Florida accident. Mr. Brown, however, receives the information much too late.

Gao Jubin filed the first lawsuit in China over the Model S autopilot in July 2016. Gao Yaning, his son, was killed in a Tesla Model S collision in January 2016. He sued the Tesla dealer who sold his son the vehicle, claiming that Tesla should be more careful when selling the autopilot technology and should inform owners and prospective purchasers of its flaws.

On March 20, 2018, the first pedestrian fatality caused by a self-driving automobile happened in Tempe, Arizona. Elaine Herzberg was riding her bike crossing the street late at night when she was hit by a self-driving Uber SUV.

Have There Been Any Lawsuits Regarding Self-Driving Car Accidents?

Although self-driving technology is still a relatively new idea, it has already resulted in a number of incidents. By initiating lawsuits against the autopilot makers, injured drivers have helped brought the dangers of this new technology to the public’s notice.

Oscar Enrique Gonzalez-Bustamante v. Tesla and Hudson v. Tesla

“Mr. Hudson was chosen as the test subject for Tesla’s fully autonomous car.”

On behalf of Shawn Hudson, our attorney Mike Morgan filed a complaint against Tesla in October 2018. Mr. Hudson’s Tesla Model S was traveling at about 80 mph when it collided with a disabled Ford Fiesta on the road.

Mr. Hudson bought a Tesla Model S to make his lengthy trip on the Florida Turnpike more bearable. Mr. Hudson, according to the complaint, was deceived into thinking that Tesla’s autopilot could securely carry people at high speeds with minimum control. The program does not properly identify stationary objects, according to the complaint, leading riders like Mr. Hudson to crash.

“Mr. Hudson became the guinea pig for Tesla to explore with their completely autonomous car,” attorney Mike Morgan stated during a news conference.

The complaint was filed in state court in Florida.

General Motors v. Nilsson

The first lawsuit in the United States for an accident involving a self-driving automobile was brought by a biker. On December 7, 2017, a Chevrolet Bolt in cruise control crashed with Oscar Nilsson, a motorcyclist, in San Francisco. The test was being monitored by an employee, but he didn’t have his hands on the wheel when autonomous mode was on.

The Chevy Bolt had begun to enter into the left lane, but had come to a halt and returned to its original lane, colliding with Mr. Nilsson. He crashed his motorbike and suffered significant injuries to his neck and shoulder, requiring him to take disability leave from his employment.

Mr. Nilsson filed a case in federal court in San Francisco against General Motors. General Motors “owes a duty of care in having its self-driving vehicle operate in a manner that obeys traffic laws and regulations,” according to the complaint, but they “breached that duty in that its self-driving vehicle drove in such a negligent manner that it veered into an adjacent lane of traffic without regard for a passing motorist.” 

General Motors agreed to settle the claim for an undisclosed sum in June 2018.

This is the 14th collision utilizing GM Cruise Automation that has been reported to the California DMV. Despite these instances, GM claimed in January 2018 that a Level 5 autonomous vehicle with no steering wheels or pedals would be released next year.

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What About Class Action Lawsuits for Autopilot Software Defects?

Plaintiffs claim they were “beta testers of half-baked software that made Tesla automobiles hazardous,” according to the lawsuit.

Tesla Model S and X owners launched a class action lawsuit in April 2017 over the company’s improved autopilot software. According to the complaint, Tesla offered Model S and X cars with the autopilot software—which cost an extra $5,000—despite knowing that the function didn’t operate and wasn’t backed up by adequate safety safeguards.

Model S and X automobiles made between October 2016 and March 2017 are included by the case, which totals 47,000 vehicles.

Plaintiffs claim that they were “beta testers of half-baked software that renders Tesla vehicles dangerous,” and that when autopilot is engaged, the vehicle is prone to “lurching, slamming on the brakes for no reason, and failing to slow or stop when approaching other vehicles,” according to the complaint.

When self-driving cars collide, who is responsible?

These initial self-driving vehicle collisions raise the issue of who is to blame for a collision. Accidents involving the Tesla Model S are already more complicated than conventional automobile accidents, since the vehicle may be operated by both the driver and the autopilot software.

Self-Driving-Car-Accidents-LawsuitsCompletely self-driving automobiles, such as those proposed by Google, are a different story, since car owners may be reduced to mere passengers.

Fully autonomous automobiles without drivers are allowed on the road in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee, and Texas as long as specific standards are followed.

In a similar spirit, Google software was recently acknowledged by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as the “driver” in its self-driving vehicles. If a passenger is unable to take control of their vehicle, we will undoubtedly see more examples of manufacturers being held responsible for automotive accidents.




What Am I Entitled to in a Lawsuit?

If you were driving a vehicle with self-driving technology and it failed to prevent a car accident or if you were struck by a self-driving car, you may be eligible for compensation for the following:

  • Injuries to the body, as well as pain and suffering
  • Physical impairment/disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Anguish in the mind
  • Loss of pleasure in life
  • Medical expenses
  • Wages lost/earning capacity harmed
  • Damage to vehicles and other things

Are You a Victim of a Self-Driving Car Accident? 

Attorneys at have a proven track record in complex car lawsuits, including a $90 million victory against BMW. You may be eligible to compensation if you were involved in an automobile accident with a self-driving car.

Please contact us for a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation. It is free unless we get a jury award or a settlement on your behalf.

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The “top class action lawsuit 2019” is a legal case that has been filed by the plaintiffs against Uber. The plaintiff’s are suing for damages to be paid for their injuries and losses incurred due to the accident.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you sue a self-driving car?

Who is responsible when a self-driving car has an accident?

A: If the car is in self-driving mode and has an accident, it would usually be up to the manufacturer of that companys vehicle.

How many people have been killed by self-driving vehicles?

A: Self-driving cars have killed no one.

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