Jan 01 2019

Self-Driving Car Features & Liability, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog, we went over some of the basics of self-driving cars. This newer technology is becoming a larger and larger consideration for auto manufacturers, buyers and insurance companies alike, with many benefits but also a few potential drawbacks to consider.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we have auto accident attorneys always on hand for any car-related incident you’re involved in. In today’s part two, we’ll look a bit more closely at some of the liability issues related to self-driving cars, ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber, and how litigation in these areas might be changing.

self-driving car features liability

Crashes and Liability

Because self-driving cars are so new and have barely hit the market in most areas (if at all), we’re still in the very nascent stages of how liability will work for them. We’re mostly still in the realm of establishing legal precedent, which has begun to happen in a couple significant cases:

  • In 2017, a self-driving Uber vehicle crashed in Tempe, Arizona and caused the death of a pedestrian. The vehicle to crash was an SUV, which flipped on its side after traveling at 38 miles per hour. An early investigation found that the pedestrian may have been at fault due to jaywalking and walking in a non-crosswalk area, and the case was investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board while prompting significant conversation.
  • A Tesla vehicle using autopilot collided with a tractor-trailer, leading to the death of the Tesla’s operator. But before the crash, the Tesla vehicle was reportedly flashing a warning signal to the driver to disengage the autopilot.

Uber and Lyft

Some in the field have noted that, when it comes to ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber, tort law principles may be applied for negligence. Using the case listed above involving the Uber vehicle and a pedestrian, here are the basic factors:

  • If the self-driving Uber did not note the pedestrian’s presence, Uber and the vehicle’s manufacturer would likely be responsible under product liability principles.
  • If the pedestrian was crossing at night and obscured by darkness, she could be at least partially liable.
  • If the pedestrian’s conduct caused the accident to be unavoidable, she may be fully liable. This scenario is less likely, however.

These interpretations will also vary based on individual states, as the NHTSA is only responsible for overseeing basic guidelines and regulations.

Litigation

The Tempe case mentioned above, which has yet to hit litigation, could provide a baseline for future such cases. It will likely devolve into a battle between Uber, the vehicle manufacturer, and the suppliers of the self-driving automation technology in terms of who is liable. Some self-driving systems may contain confidential indemnification agreements that companies use to protect themselves. It’s possible multiple entities could be found liable and/or sued during this process.

For more on self-driving cars and liability, or to learn about any of our auto accident or personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at William Rawlings & Associates today.

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Aug 17 2016

BIKE TRAILER VS. BIKE SEAT: WHICH IS SAFER FOR CHILDREN? 

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Salt Lake City, Park City and surrounding areas are popular places to bike, both as exercise and leisure activities. Many parents of young children choose to continue biking – and must therefore make a choice about involving their children.  Some parents will choose to leave their young children with baby sitters while they cycle. This may not always be an option, and many parents want to include their toddlers while biking. In this situation, there are two options: the bike trailer or the bike seat.

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Mar 03 2016

Utah Traffic Deaths Rise for third year in a row.

The Desert News is reporting the for the first time in 15 years, the number of traffic fatalities in Utah has risen for the third year in a row. Last year, 275 people died on Utah roads. Officials say as many as 94 % of those deaths were preventable.  We all share the same roadway, and we need to find a way to do it safely protecting not just those in vehicles, but pedestrians and bicyclists.

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Feb 03 2016

Dog versus Bike Accident

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Some dogs are attracted to moving bikes, shiny spokes, spinning wheels, tires and chains. The question is this: If a dog runs after you while you are riding your bike, what is the best way to handle it? Having a dog or several dogs charging at you can be a very frightening experience.  I know from experience how this feels, as it has happened to me on a few occasions.  It is never a good idea to attempt to get away from a running dog.  Dogs are hunters by nature and have an amazing ability to pick the right angle to catch you as you are riding.  You are more likely to crash and then be confronted with an angry dog, not a good combination.  You should safely come to a stop and put your bike between the dog and you.  If you happen to carry around dog treats for occasions such as this, it would be a good time to throw one far away from you.

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Feb 02 2016

Bicycle Safety Tips for Night Riding

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Despite the fact that an estimated 80% of all bike accidents can be avoided, approximately 100 bicycle deaths are reported annually in Utah, California and Idaho.. When a bicycle accident occurs, make sure your rights are protected and you receive adequate compensation for your injuries including medical costs, loss of earnings, loss of earning potential and other damages including your bike. It is in your best interest to be represented by an attorney who has a successful record of winning cycling cases for his clients. It is also important to be represented by a lawyer who is thoroughly familiar with the laws that govern your case which include bicycle law, tort law, civil procedure and evidence.

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Feb 09 2015

Injured in a Bicycle Accident?

A woman was injured in a Draper car accident when a car struck her bicycle. According to a news report the bicycle accident occurred at 11800 South and State St. in Draper. The bicyclist was transported by private ambulance to a nearby hospital.

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Mar 05 2014

Bicycle for Two

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Is it ever legal to ride a bike on a sidewalk? We have all done it. All of us who have kids have seen or encouraged them to do it. But is it legal? The short answer is yes and no depending on how old you are, and where you are doing it.

Most people know (and surprisingly many still don’t) that as cyclists we have to obey the same traffic laws as motor vehicle drivers. In most states cyclists can get speeding tickets for breaking the speed limit. It’s not uncommon for cyclists to get stopped and ticketed for running red lights, or stop signs. The same traffic rules always apply to cyclists with some modifications or additions depending on where your age and where you live.

Jan 18 2014

Accident Aftermath – Now What Do I Do?

Have you or a loved one been involved in a car, truck or pedestrian accident recently?  Do you want to take action but are unsure of what or how to do it?  Here are the answers to a few questions our new clients ask frequently:

Will I ruin the life of the person who hit me if I make a claim?

NO!  You are making a claim AGAINST THEIR INSURANCE COMPANY, not the individual.  The premiums they have been paying all these years protect them and pay for your damages and injuries.  The same would be true if you caused an accident.  YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY WILL PROTECT YOU!

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Dec 26 2013

What To Do If you are in a Bike Accident in Utah

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News reports indicated that a Salt Lake City bicyclist had been stuck by a teen driver who was texting on his phone while in the Canyons on a winding road.  The bicyclist was severely injured when the teen veered into the bicyclist as he lost control on a curve in the road.  These accidents are all to frequent where drivers are distracted whether it’s talking on the phone, texting, eating in the car etc.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Salt Lake City bicycle accident, it is important to consult with a dedicated Utah personal injury attorney right away. An experienced accident attorney can work with you to determine all of factors that may have led to a particular accident and help you recover the compensation you deserve.