Self-Driving Cars Changing the Landscape of Liability Insurance

A car's self driving mode

Self-driving cars used to be a futuristic concept that we would see in movies set in the future, but now many motor vehicles have the capacity to carry out many tasks without a driver’s involvement. Moreover, many of these features are not only present in higher-end vehicles, but in more affordably priced ones as well, making self-driving cars vastly more accessible. It is no longer unusual to find that a car can monitor its blind spots or park itself.

Of course, this will undoubtedly change the landscape of liability insurance since it will complicate issues of fault. If a driver is not operating his or her vehicle, who might be to blame for any accidents it might potentially cause? Some claimants look to the manufacturer when it comes to pointing fingers.

Fully Autonomous Vehicles: The Future

According to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), six levels of automated driving exist, which range from no automation to full automation. Many drivers will be able to slowly progress from owning minimally or somewhat automated cars to the next level. That said, there is some debate over when a crossover to self-driving cars might take place. At the University of Minnesota, one scholar posits that, by 2030, all cars on the road will be driverless. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, however, believes that only about 4.5 million fully autonomous vehicles will be on the road by 2030.

Regulating Self-Driving Vehicles

In 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the guidelines for companies that manufacture self-driving vehicles were adjusted. Instead of making it mandatory to submit to voluntary federal assessments, they are now only encouraged to do so. Today, 29 states and Washington, D.C. permit the use of autonomous vehicles, though the laws vary from state to state.

When Self-Driving Cars Cause Fatalities

Back in July 2016, a Tesla Motors Model S equipped with Autopilot technology was involved in the first accident resulting in a fatality. The owner of the Tesla was killed when the vehicle’s Autopilot sensors were unable to detect a truck that was turning in front of it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that the vehicle’s system lacked the proper safeguards to prevent its misuse, though the system itself was not flawed.

What it Means for Insurance

Not surprisingly, insurance will be impacted by the ever-growing presence of autonomous vehicles on the road. Instead of holding individuals riding within self-driving vehicles liable for accidents, suppliers and manufacturers may have to take responsibility for accidents caused by their product. Liability coverage will continue to be necessary, but many anticipate product liability laws being incorporated in order to curb the costs to claims involving manufacturers. Additionally, workers’ compensation claims related to motor vehicle accidents are expected to drop.

Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys in Minneapolis

After sustaining injuries in a motor vehicle accident, victims are not only in pain, but overwhelmed by the process of seeking compensation for their injuries. You should not have to bear this burden on your own. At Meshbesher & Associates in Minneapolis, our experienced team of motor vehicle accident attorneys is committed to assisting those who have been wrongfully injured, so they can hold the responsible parties liable for their negligent actions and recover the damages they deserve.

No matter how complex your case might be, you can rely on us to provide the fierce legal representation you need to help you navigate the process of filing a personal injury claim.

Get started today and contact our legal team at (612) 200-1526 to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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