Self-Driving Car Accident Lawyers

Self-driving cars, also commonly referred to as autonomous vehicles and driverless cars, are widely praised by innovators in automotive technology as the safest way to travel. From fully autonomous cars to semi-autonomous vehicles, driverless vehicles can carry passengers without the manual action or input of a driver. Autonomous vehicles, however, are not without problems regarding roadway safety and collisions with manually operated cars.

Under certain conditions, even the most reliable modes of travel can become hazardous to passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers. If you or a loved one has been hit and injured by a self-driving car, contact the Orlando personal injury lawyers with the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A. to discuss your case. We will work hard to defend your rights and to help ensure that you recover the full amount of deserved compensation for your injuries.

What Is An Autonomous Vehicle?

An autonomous car is a vehicle that can sense its surroundings and drive from a starting point to a predetermined destination with little to no human input. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), driverless vehicles exist within the following levels of autonomy. If you have been injured due to an accident with an autonomous vehicle, contact our law firm right away to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Orlando, FL, about your case.

  • Level Zero (No Automation). All functions within the vehicle are controlled by a human driver at all times, even if safety intervention systems provide drivers with assistance.
  • Level One (Driver Assistance). In certain driving modes, the car may either take control of the steering wheel or the pedals for cruise control or parking assistance.
  • Level Two (Partial Automation). The car may control both the pedals and the wheel under certain conditions, but the driver maintains ultimate control over the vehicle.
  • Level Three (Conditional Automation). Certain modes allow the car to take over full operational responsibilities, but uses the human driver as a fallback system.
  • Level Four (High Automation). The car can drive itself full time under the right circumstances, but may request human assistance if a complex situation arises.
  • Level Five (Full Automation). This comprises full-time automation of all driving tasks on any road under any conditions, whether or not humans are on board.

Are Self-Driving Cars Safe?

Proponents of driverless car technology often tout driverless cars as innovations to increase transportation-related safety on roadways. While considering self driving cars pros and cons, the prevention of texting accidents and car accidents due to driver error is notable. However, driverless cars may pose threats to human safety different from human error, such as defective automotive parts, faulty product testing, and programming malfunctions, among other issues, any of which may result in a self-driving car accident.

Self-Driving Car Laws In Florida

Signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, House Bill 311 “exempts autonomous vehicles and operators from certain prohibitions; provides that human operator is not required to operate fully autonomous vehicle; authorizes fully autonomous vehicle to operate regardless of the presence of human operator; and provides that automated driving system is deemed operator of autonomous vehicle operating with system engaged” among a number of other additions. Starting on July 1, 2019, self-driving vehicles are allowed on Florida roads without any safety driver in the vehicle. According to the bill, humans riding within autonomous vehicles are exempted from laws against texting and other activities related to distracted driving so long as the automated driving system is engaged while the vehicle is in operation. 

Causes Of Driverless Car Accidents

Common causes of driverless car accidents include the failure of technology within the vehicle to both recognize and react to unexpected road conditions, which may occur due to construction work or police directing traffic; sensor malfunction due to extreme weather conditions, which made difficult to detect road signs and roadway lines; mechanical failure; malfunctions in the system software; failure to update the GPS for mapping purposes or taking the vehicle out of range; sudden change in degree of visibility due to rain or direct sunlight which prevents proper function of sensors and cameras; a false sense of security among riders or drivers, resulting in the inability to take control of the system if needed. If you were a driver or a pedestrian and you were involved in an accident with an automotive vehicle, contact a car accident lawyer with our firm to determine whether you are entitled to compensation.

Common Autonomous Vehicle Injuries

While the goal of self-driving car companies may be to create an autonomous vehicle that improves the level of safety both for drivers and pedestrians alike, there are multiple instances in which self-driving vehicles have crashed, resulting in driver fatalities and pedestrian fatalities in addition to the following types of injuries. If an accident with a self-driving car resulted in injury to you or driverless car death of a loved one, contact our injury attorneys to discuss your case.

  • Pedestrian fatality
  • Driver fatality
  • Second and third-degree burns
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Brain trauma
  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ damage
  • Broken bones
  • Torn ligaments, tendons, and muscles
  • Abrasions, contusions, and lacerations
  • Whiplash

Determining Liability In Driverless Car Accidents

Determining liability in a driverless car accident is a complex process which requires the expertise and comprehensive counsel of a personal injury attorney. The determination of liability in driverless vehicle accidents requires professional investigation and analysis of the details of the accident in order to determine the cause of the crash and any resulting injuries or property damage. While the question of liability in traditional types of automobile accidents require proving negligence of the at-fault driver or product liability of the defective car manufacturer, proving negligence with accidents involving driverless vehicles poses additional legal complexities in accordance with the requirements posed by Florida law.

Under Florida’s law regarding self-driving vehicles, self-driving car companies are required to provide liability coverage of at least $1 million for death, bodily injury, and property damage, in addition to other required minimum coverage. In addition, House Bill 311 requires “proof of financial responsibility to respond to a claim for damages arising out of a motor vehicle accident for owners or registrants of certain fully autonomous vehicles that are not subject to the insurance requirements described above.” In determining the liability of a driverless car accident, each case is unique and depends upon a wide range of factors, including the car, the driver, and the technology, among other details specific to the case.

How Orlando Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help

If you have been injured in a car accident, whether it involves manually operated vehicles or driverless cars, you need the experienced legal representation of a law firm that specializes in high-technology auto accident and personal injury law, such as those with the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A. The most effective way to recover compensation from an accident with an autonomous car is with the help of our Orlando personal injury lawyers. We will evaluate all of the evidence involved and help you determine the most effective method in which to proceed in order to help ensure an optimal result to your case. Contact us today.