Who Is Responsible for Auto Accidents Involving Self-Driving Vehicles?

self driving
The idea of owning a self-driving car is fantastic since big companies persistently develop excellent features for these vehicles.

However, autonomous cars’ safety is a significant issue, as they can run without their operators’ hands on the steering wheel. Such features could increase accident risks, especially when there are technical problems in the autonomous system.

Now, the question is, who is accountable for an accident involving a self-driving car? Should the car owner become liable for damages or the manufacturer?

Read on to know your legal options if you encounter an accident with a self-driving vehicle.

Personal Injury and Product Liability Claims in Accidents Involving Self-Driving Cars

self-driving vehicle accident

Personal injury and Product liability claims play crucial roles in car crash cases. So, accidents involving autonomous vehicles would fall under either claim too.

Consulting a Burbank auto accident attorney helps you decide the correct claim in a particular car crash case.

Personal Injury Claim

You may file a personal injury claim if the other driver’s negligence has caused the car accident. However, you should prove:

  • The defendant owes you a duty of care like they should drive safely to prevent accidents
  • They breached their duty of care by committing driving negligence like overspeeding
  • Their recklessness resulted in a car crash and caused your injuries and damages
  • The injuries and damages you sustained caused economic and non-economic suffering, like medical expenses, lost income, and psychological distress

You may thus claim personal injury compensation from the other driver if they committed negligence while operating their self-driving car. Examples include:

  • The vehicle operator used the wrong settings in the autonomous car’s system, thus performing a maneuver that caused the accident.
  • The owner didn’t maintain their self-driving vehicle properly, so the car malfunctioned while running and crashed.

Product Liability Claim


You might file a product liability claim against the other car’s manufacturer if a defective self-driving vehicle caused the accident. However, it’s only applicable if the other driver didn’t commit any negligent action.

You should then prove any of the following:

  • Faulty Product Design

You may file a product liability claim if you prove a car’s faulty design increased its accident risks.

An example is the computer vision of self-driving cars, which lets them anticipate road obstacles. The problem is that this feature may not properly function under bad weather and may cause an accident.

  • Defects Because of Faulty Manufacturing

self-driving vehicle accident

You can also claim liabilities from the manufacturer if a specific faulty car part caused the accident.

In some cases, some car parts have defects because of manufacturing problems. While manufacturers have strict quality control, some faulty products still reach the customers’ vehicles.

  • Insufficient Provided Instructions for Use

Lastly, you may also claim product liability if the car manufacturer didn’t include complete and clear instructions in a vehicle purchase. These instructions should include proper use of unique features and warnings of particular hazards.

For example, you may use an autonomous car manufacturer if they don’t provide instructions and warnings about the auto-pilot feature. Thus, the autonomous car’s driver misuses the system to crash into your vehicle.

Hire an Auto Accident Lawyer in Burbank for Cases Involving Self-Driving Cars


Car manufacturers and tech companies continuously develop self-driving cars to make them safe and efficient.

However, these cars may still crash and cause injuries and damage to other vehicles and people on the road. Thus, understand your legal options if a self-driving car hits you or if you, as an owner, cause an accident.

A Burbank auto accident attorney will help you handle a unique car crash case with autonomous vehicles.

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