Accidents Involving Autonomous Vehicles in California

We are specifically seeking to represent clients injured by vehicles which were driving themselves. We believe some of these vehicles may pose a hazard to innocent drivers on the road. We are located in Ventura County, and represent clients all over the State of California.

As per the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 36,096 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in the United States in 2019. Nearly all of those fatalities were attributable to human error. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 3,606 of those fatalities occurred in the state. Unofficial statistics for 2020 in California show 3,723 traffic fatalities. Testing of fully autonomous vehicles continues to increase. When those vehicles become available to consumers in California, safe and efficient travel are expected to be the norm on the state’s roadways. For now, drivers must be satisfied with vehicles that have an optional autonomous mode that they can elect to engage with the flick of a switch.

Autonomous Mode Isn’t Exclusive to Tesla

The California Department of Motor Vehicles defines autonomous mode as the “status of vehicle operation where autonomous technology performs the dynamic driving task, with or without a human actively supervising the autonomous technology’s performance of the dynamic driving task. An autonomous vehicle is operating or driving in autonomous mode when it is operated or driven with the autonomous technology engaged.” When we think of autonomous mode or autopilot, the first car that comes to mind is the Tesla Model S. A few other major makes and models that have the autopilot option are the BMW 740i, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan, Toyota’s Corolla and the Honda Accord Hybrid. These are known as Level 3 autonomous vehicles. Level 5 would be fully autonomous.

Level 3 Autopilot Features

With Level 3, all of the vehicle’s safety features are autonomous. The car can steer, change lanes and brake on its own, but if alerted of a hazard by the car’s sensors, the driver should take control of the vehicle. Only up to Level 3 vehicles are allowed on California roadways without a special experimental permit. What comes to issue in the event of an accident involving a Level 3 vehicle is who might be responsible for it. Might it be the driver, the manufacturer, the manufacturer of a component part or somebody else?

  • The Driver: A person operating a Level 3 automobile might not have a complete understanding of how the technology that’s packed into the vehicle works. A human tech error by the driver can cause an accident. Should the car be on manual mode, ordinary negligence by a driver can cause a collision.
  • The Manufacturer: The car’s technology may have failed to detect a road hazard, or maybe it detected the hazard and failed to alert the driver. Any number of tech issues could occur. In such a case, the manufacturer or the manufacturer of a component part might be held liable.
  • The Other Guy: Both the Level 3 car and driver might be working perfectly in conjunction with each other, but that other guy who was using his phone in traffic was distracted and caused an accident. In that event, the distracted driver might be held liable.

The number of cars on California road switch Level 3 autopilot is increasing on a daily basis. If you’re the injured victim of a car crash, and you intend on seeking compensation for the damages that you suffered, you’ll need a law firm that will thoroughly investigate every possible liability aspect of your claim or lawsuit. Whether the cause of your accident was technology, a careless and negligent driver or both will be of critical importance.

Contact an Autonomous Vehicle Accident Lawyer in California Today.

Quirk Accident & Injury Attorneys, APC is ready to put its talent and resources to work for you. We’ll pursue every available option to obtain the highest and best settlement or award to fully compensate you for your injuries and damages. Contact us right away for a free consultation and case review after being injured in any motor vehicle crash.