Last year, Lyft launched a self-driving car service in Las Vegas and has now completed more than 55,000 trips. Not only is the company pleased with the number of trips taken in the autonomous cars, but it also claims that passenger ratings average 4.97 out of 5.00 with 92 percent of drivers feeling extremely safe during the trip. There is a backup driver in the vehicle should a system fail, but there is no data on how often, if ever, human intervention is needed. Although this may be beneficial to the Lyft bottom line, there is a question of how Las Vegas car accidents involving driverless cars may impact personal injury laws.
Every day, people are involved in accidents on roadways due to negligence, driver error, or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. More than two million people are injured in crashes each year that involve cars with drivers. With a self-driving vehicle, the safety is no longer in the hands of the person behind the wheel but with the vehicle itself. When people are involved in Las Vegas car accidents in a driverless Lyft, who is responsible for your injuries?
Changes in Accident Causes
One thing that could happen if you are saying “I was in a Lyft accident” and were riding in a self-driving car, is that negligence may be hard to prove. Computers don’t make the same mistakes behind the wheel that people do. A computer does not drive drunk, cannot be distracted by cell phones, and they are programmed to adjust for adverse conditions like fog or rain more quickly than people can adapt. Therefore, when something goes wrong with the computer in a self-driving car, who is responsible for injuries? Auto manufacturers already try to deflect blame when a vehicle has a manufacturing defect that leads to accidents, so it stands to reason that they will be quick to divert blame if something goes wrong with a driverless car.
Possible Liability in Self-Driving Car Accidents
Although legal experts are still debating who will be considered at fault should a driverless car cause an accident, there are laws in place that could protect you if you say “I was in a Lyft accident” while riding in a self-driving car. If it can be proven that the software in the car malfunctioned, the manufacturer could be liable. If Lyft failed to do regular software updates, Lyft could be held responsible for the accident. Driverless cars contain sensors that track, monitor and measure everything going on in the vehicle. It would stand to reason that this data could be used to determine what happened. There are concerns among legal experts, however, that the parties who may be potentially liable will have instant access to the data which could be altered in their favor. Some experts suggest installing blockchain technology which would limit permissions to relevant sensor data and that protections be installed to keep data from being altered without detection.
If you have been involved in Las Vegas car accidents involving a driverless Lyft car, contact The Schnitzer Law Firm today. You can arrange for a no-obligation consultation by calling 702-960-4050, emailing [email protected] or filling out the secure online query form.