Liability for self-driving car accidents

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2021 | Car Accidents

You’re not alone if seeing self-driving cars in Illinois makes you a little uneasy. Self-driving cars have been involved in many accidents, and most people know that the technology hasn’t been perfected yet. Another thing that is far from perfect is the understanding of legal liability when it comes to autonomous vehicles.

Autonomous systems need human oversight

Even if you don’t own a Tesla, your vehicle may have some autonomous features. For example, adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist are two partially autonomous features that are available on some modern vehicles. All of these features may assist the driver, but they still require human oversight to work properly. That’s because we don’t yet have self-driving car technology that can adapt to every single possible road condition.

Like flying a plane

When owners of Tesla vehicles turn on their car’s autopilot mode, an end-user license agreement, or EULA, pops up on the car’s touchscreen. The EULA explains that using autopilot mode is similar to piloting an airplane. In other words, the system is mostly autonomous, but the driver should be ready to take over.

EULAs like the ones in Tesla cars may become the norm for manufacturers of partially or fully autonomous vehicles. These agreements are how some car manufacturers hope to avoid liability when the autonomous vehicles get into car accidents. However, studies have shown that the vast majority of people who click through EULAs don’t actually read them.

Who can you sue if a self-driving car hits you?

If you were injured in an accident with a self-driving car, it’s possible that both the driver and the car manufacturer have liability. Determining who holds liability will depend on the details of your individual case.


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