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How is liability determined in a driverless car accident?

While self-driving cars are not abundant upon Washington roadways just yet, there are some out there, and accidents involving them have already occurred. This has brought about a question. How is liability determined when a car has no driver? The situation is only complicated when you are a passenger in the vehicle, but the software is driving.

According to the Washington Post, there is no precedent because accidents where liability must be determined have not yet occurred with driverless cars. However, experts have analyzed the possibilities and come up with a few ideas of what may happen in the future when such an accident occurs.

If you are a passenger in a driverless car, you may have some control over its actions. If you see a crash may occur and could have stopped it but do nothing, you may take on some of the liability. However, in some cars, the design may be so you cannot take control, which would render you not liable.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ruled that the driver of a driverless vehicle is the software. Due to this, many experts believe car accidents will become product liability cases where you sue the manufacturer of the software for creating a faulty product.

The future of driverless cars seems to be bright, but what will happen with liability is still foggy. Until some precedent is set with cases hitting the courts, it may be difficult to see what judges will really do when having to decide who is liable when a car is driving itself. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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