What Are My Legal Options After a Self-Driving Car Accident? By Hardin Ramey on December 31, 2023

car accident victimNearly every car manufacturer has released or is working on an autonomous vehicle. Self-driving cars use sensors and cameras to send data to an operating system, which makes decisions regarding routes and vehicle maneuvers. While these vehicles are called “self-driving,” most require an attentive driver to be road-legal.

As more self-driving vehicles enter the roadways, incidents of self-driving car accidents are increasing. Like any other type of collision, autonomous car accidents may cause physical, emotional, and financial damages. Car accident attorneys at The Ramey Law Firm in Dallas, TX, help clients consider their legal options after a self-driving car accident so they can pursue the compensation they are due for related losses.

Determining Accident Liability

To ascertain a person’s legal options after an autonomous car crash, our legal team must determine accident liability. Our lawyers work with accident investigators to establish an accident’s causation factor or the primary reason behind the collision. Depending on who or what causes a crash, Dallas accident victims can file a lawsuit against the liable person(s) or party to pursue compensation for economic and non-economic damages.

Suing the Driver of the Vehicle

In the majority of cases, self-driving car accidents are the result of driver error. Even though an autonomous vehicle has sensors, cameras, and an operating device that allows it to maneuver without a driver’s direct intervention, most require a driver. Unless a vehicle is classified as completely autonomous, Texas law requires that an attentive driver must be behind the wheel and ready to operate the car.

The driver is responsible for monitoring the road and taking control of the vehicle, as necessary, to avoid a crash. If a driver neglects their duty to avoid an accident, they can be held liable for damages such as medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering.

Suing the Vehicle’s Manufacturer

In some cases, accident victims can sue a vehicle manufacturer for the damages of a self-driving car accident. This type of lawsuit is based on laws of product liability rather than the law of negligence. The law ensures that consumers have a right to expect that a product they purchase will operate safely when used as directed. If a self-driving vehicle has a malfunction that results in a crash, accident victims can sue the vehicle manufacturer for collision damages. 

Suing the Manufacturer of a Vehicle Part 

Not all defects are the responsibility of the vehicle manufacturer. Vehicle manufacturers frequently purchase components from other companies. Similarly, vehicle owners often replace parts or have repairs made during their vehicle’s lifespan. Defective parts that may result in a crash include:

  • Defective brakes
  • Defective steering
  • Tire defects
  • Electrical defects
  • Fuel system defects
  • Defective transmission

If a defective car part causes a crash, our lawyers can assist our Dallas clients in suing the parts manufacturer to hold them liable for accident damages. 

Contact Us

Determining liability for a self-driving car accident can be complicated. If you have been injured in an autonomous vehicle crash and would like to learn more about your legal options and who is responsible for collision damages, contact The Ramey Law Firm and schedule a consultation.

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