Who’s to Blame in Missouri Self-Driving-Car Accidents?

men testing a self-driving car

When self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles crash into another vehicle, pedestrian, or fixed property, who should shoulder the blame for the accident when a human driver didn’t have their hands on the steering wheel or foot on the pedals? Crashes involving driverless cars can involve complex facts and legal questions in determining who should bear responsibility for the crash. 

Determining Liability in a Collision Involving a Self-Driving Car in Missouri

Who’s liable for self-driving car accidents? Depending on the circumstances of the accident, various parties may bear liability for injuries and losses suffered by other crash victims. Examples of individuals and car companies that might bear responsibility for a self-driving car crash include:

  • The Driver of the “Self-Driving” Vehicle – Commercially available “self-driving” vehicles don’t have true self-driving capabilities as defined by the standards published by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Instead, manufacturers of vehicles with partial automation advise drivers that they must continue to pay attention to the road with those features engaged. Many accidents with self-driving cars occur due to human error when drivers stop paying attention to the road and fail to resume control when the self-driving system encounters problems. 
  • The Vehicle’s Manufacturer – A manufacturer of a vehicle with self-driving technology may bear liability for a crash that occurs when the vehicle’s driver assistance systems malfunction or otherwise don’t work properly. That includes instances such as when vehicles fail to stay in the lane, stop at intersections, or recognize an imminent collision. 
  • The Manufacturer of a Defective Vehicle Component – A vehicle’s self-driving systems may fail due to defective components in the system, such as cameras, sensors, radars, and computers. Many of the components of self-driving systems come from third-party manufacturers who supply the components for final assembly into the vehicle by the vehicle’s manufacturer. 
  • Any Other Company in the Vehicle’s Chain of Distribution – Under product liability law, other parties in the “chain of commerce” that brings a product to market may bear liability for injuries and property damage caused by a defective product. In the automotive industry, other parties in a vehicle’s distribution chain may include national subsidiaries that import foreign-manufactured vehicles and the automotive brand’s dealerships that sell vehicles to customers. 
  • A Third Party, Such as a Vehicle Repair Shop or Road Construction Contractor – Other parties might also bear liability for causing a self-driving vehicle to crash, such as a third-party repair shop that performed negligent maintenance or repair work that led to a mechanical or computer failure. Road construction companies might also bear responsibility for a self-driving car accident when they make unsafe alterations to traffic patterns that may confuse a car’s self-driving system and cause a crash.

How Our Lawyers Help People Hurt in a Self-Driving Car Crash

At Sumner Law Group, LLC, our firm works tirelessly to help clients pursue compensation for injuries and losses they suffered in autonomous vehicle crashes by:

  • Thoroughly investigating accidents to recover all available evidence of fault
  • Consulting with accident reconstruction and engineering experts to review the evidence and identify potentially liable parties
  • Documenting injuries and losses and calculating our clients’ future medical and financial needs
  • Vigorously pursuing maximum compensation, whether through a settlement with a manufacturer or insurance company or by taking our clients’ cases to court to demand accountability and justice. 

When you’ve suffered injuries in a car accident involving an autonomous vehicle, get legal help from an experienced personal injury attorney to navigate the complex issues in your case. 

Contact Sumner Law Group, LLC today for a free, no-obligation consultation. One of our knowledgeable self-driving car accident attorneys will discuss your options for pursuing the money you need.

Brent Sumner

Brent A. Sumner is the Managing Partner at Sumner Law Group, LLC. He focuses his practice exclusively on cases that involve serious personal injuries. Over the years, he has successfully represented thousands of individuals and families, recovering millions of dollars in compensation for injured accident victims.