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Who's to blame for self-driving car accidents?

The problem with the future is that it sometimes arrives before anyone is ready for it. The latest example of this phenomenon is unfolding now as car makers around the world scramble to develop autonomous vehicles. Cars that drive themselves will surely necessitate amendments to Ontario traffic laws and the insurance industry. One of the greatest puzzles might be how to assign blame after car accidents involving self-driving cars.

Statistics show that human error is the primary cause for 94 percent of automobile accidents. By removing human decisions from driving, that number should drop significantly. Though experts believe accidents will never be completely eliminated, even doing away with just speeding and drunk driving will greatly reduce the risk.

Establishing blame in an accident involving a self-driving car may be hard to do. Indications are that the manufacturers might be held liable, or perhaps the software developers. Personal injury claims may begin to focus on the failure or unreliability of the product, rather than driver negligence. Additionally, accident reconstruction may no longer be the jurisdiction of the police, and could rely almost entirely on accessing data stored in on-board computers in the involved vehicles.

The day when all cars are self-driving is not here yet, but there are already many semi-autonomous vehicles on the roads of Ontario, with more coming all the time. Car accidents involving cars in self-drive mode could be difficult legal matters to sort out, and victims will likely require skilled lawyers to help them. If you, a friend or a family member are a victim of someone's negligence, it makes sense to contact a personal injury attorney to learn what steps should be taken to protect one's legal rights.

Source: The Washington Post, "When driverless cars crash, who gets the blame and pays the damages?", Ashley Halsey, Accessed on May 8, 2017

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