I Was Hit by a Self-Driving Car: What Are My Legal Options? By Foley Law Firm on July 10, 2023

Woman on cellphone after a car accident

Self-driving cars are becoming more common in cities across the country, and that includes Pennsylvania. As these kinds of vehicles become more of a fixture on our roads, it is important to consider the potential for crashes with cars on autopilot. And if you do get into a crash with a self-driving car, what legal options might you have?

The lawyers at our Scranton and Stroudsburg, PA, law offices have considered this issue as the auto industry has evolved. Our team of skilled car accident attorneys considers a few important aspects of self-driving car crashes, starting with a bill passed and signed into law late last year.

Pennsylvania Laws on Self-Driving Vehicles

Last November, Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill into law that allows autonomous vehicles to operate without a licensed human driver present behind the wheel.

While many remain wary, a report on Technically Media noted some Pennsylvania lawmakers were excited by the idea of the state being at the cutting edge when it comes to the self-driving car industry.

A Tesla Autopilot Crash in June 2023

Just last month there was a self-driving car crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Plum just outside of Pittsburgh.

According to Penn Live, the Tesla on autopilot struck a work truck on Interstate 76. The Tesla struck a Freightliner truck that was parked to assist with roadwork. The 18-year-old driver was from Michigan and was not injured in the collision. The truck driver and no other workers were injured in the crash either.

However, this is a crash that could have been avoided had the person behind the wheel of the Tesla exercised more caution. And it raises questions as to whether Tesla’s self-driving software had been properly tested and designed.

Who Is Legally Liable in These Kinds of Crashes?

Generally speaking, there are two potentially liable parties when a self-driving vehicle gets into a wreck: the person behind the wheel and the vehicle manufacturer.

The Person in the Self-Driving Vehicle

Even though there are new laws on the books here in Pennsylvania, the fact remains that the person behind the wheel of a self-driving vehicle could still take action to avoid a collision from occurring. Failure to act in a way to prevent or mitigate harm could be grounds for a lawsuit.

The Maker of the Self-Driving Vehicle

Makers of vehicles that have an autopilot function need to be diligent in the testing and implementation of such features. When these systems fail, it puts pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, and even those within the autonomous vehicle at risk of serious injury.

What About Third-Party Liability?

There is also a possibility that a third party could be responsible for a crash occurring. This could include the makers of defective tires or braking systems on the autonomous vehicle, local municipalities that failed to provide warning of road work, and instances of negligence.

Why You Need a Lawyer for Self-Driving Car Crash Cases

Given the complexities involved with these kinds of cases, you must speak with an attorney about your crash as soon as possible. The lawyers at our firm can review what happened and let you know if you have a case worth pursuing. We can also let you know what steps to take next to improve your chances of a successful resolution.

Discuss Your Case With Our Law Firm

The team at the Foley Law Firm is ready to help you if you were in a crash with a rideshare driver. To set up a case review with our team of auto accident lawyers, contact our law offices in Scranton and Stroudsburg today. We are ready to listen.

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