Lawyers analyse driverless liability in new report

An American law firm has analysed the question of liability when it comes to deaths involving driverless cars, but warns that it’s too early to say where blame lies in such crashes.

Pittman, Dutton, Hellums, Bradley and Mann have written a report calling the issues “a complex web”, because often, an accident is not a result of the wrongful action of a single person or factor.

“Maybe it’s not such a good idea to pin the fault on just one person or one factor,” commented Ron Schmelzer, Managing Partner & Principal Analyst at AI Focused Research and Advisory firm Cognilytica. “The totality of the circumstances may add up to the reality that fault lies with many parties.”

It discusses the fact that big companies have used out-of-court settlements to deal with any claims based on crashes involving driverless tests. Consequently, the lawyers note, there is limited guidance from court rulings regarding the issue.

Although obviously laws are different in different countries, given the vast amount of testing that has taken place in the US compared to other countries, the fact that so little is yet settled on the legal position of driverless cars suggest that standards and regulations must be clearly defined before any take to the streets beyond limited trials.

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