Crashes With Self-Driving/Autonomous Vehicles/Cars

Crashes with self-driving or autonomous vehicles have increased since the advent of this technology, despite years of advancement and research from companies like Tesla. Government agencies continue to implement laws and regulations around autonomous vehicles, but the question of liability remains prominent.

If you suffered injuries in an accident involving a self-driving/autonomous car in Colorado, you have the right to hire a car accident lawyer to seek compensation for your losses. Whether you were injured as a motorist, pedestrian, or even a passenger in a self-driving car, the team at Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC can help you seek financial recovery by filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Please reach out to us for a free consultation at (303) 543-1000 and speak with one of our experienced attorneys today.

Recent Data on U.S. Crashes Involving Self-Driving/Autonomous Vehicles/Cars

According to the Associated Press, eleven fatal crashes over four months in 2022 involved self-driving/autonomous vehicles in the U.S. There is no doubt the number of deaths and injuries will rise as the self-driving cars by Tesla and others gain in popularity. In April 2023, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a Standing General Order to all manufacturers of self-driving vehicles to report any crashes involving their vehicles that have automated driving systems or SAE Level 2 advanced driver assistance systems.

This increased reporting regulation comes just in time, as fully automated vehicles have already appeared on the roads. Full automation refers to self-driving vehicles that do not even require a person behind the wheel. Several taxi services have adopted this technology, but it has not been without its defects.

Reuters reported that in December of 2023, one such taxi company, General Motors’ Cruise, was involved in a fatal pedestrian accident. According to the outlet, a Nissan hit a pedestrian, who then fell into the street and got run over by a Cruise fully-automated taxi. The self-driving vehicle initially stopped when its sensory technology detected the impact but then proceeded to drive, dragging the pedestrian 20 feet.

Different Levels of Automated Driving

The NHTSA advocates for more testing of self-driving vehicles in efforts to implement more safety procedures. According to the department’s research, automated driving consists of as little as lane-changing assistance to full automation. It divides this technology into the following categories based on the extent of autonomation technology:

  • Momentary driver assistance, such as automatic braking systems and collision warning systems
  • Driver assistance, such as adaptive cruise control and lane-changing assistance
  • Additional assistance, such as when technology assists with steering and braking
  • Conditional automation, which allows the driver to intervene but otherwise allows technology to fully operate the vehicle
  • High to full automation, which does not even require a person to be present in the driver’s seat

Though the newest technology is not yet available for consumer purchase, it has made its way onto the roads via taxi companies. Additionally, with many crashes by Tesla vehicles, that company has recalled several vehicles to adjust settings in its “self-driving mode.”

Why Crashes with Self-Driving/Autonomous Vehicles Are So Complicated

Any car accident case in Colorado can become complex, but when it’s a collision involving a self-driving car, determining liability becomes uniquely difficult. Large corporations, like Tesla, may be quick to speculate on the cause of the accident and look for ways to evade liability.

When taxis or rideshare companies enter the equation, demonstrating liability can be even more difficult. Insurance companies may argue back and forth, disputing liability and shifting the blame on the accident victim.

Even with self-driving cars, human error can still factor into a collision. For example, if someone is driving a model of autonomous vehicle that requires a certain amount of human interaction, they can overestimate the technology’s ability to handle certain situations, like hazardous road conditions.

Potentially Liable Parties in Automated Vehicle Collisions

Potentially liable parties in a car accident involving a self-driving vehicle in Boulder, Colorado can include:

  • The human present in a self-driving car
  • Another third-party motorist who contributed to the accident, such as by failing to yield the right of way
  • A government entity for failing to maintain a hazardous road
  • The manufacturer of the autonomous vehicle if defective technology contributed to the accident
  • An employer or taxi/rideshare company that used a defective autonomous vehicle

It can prove difficult to get to the bottom of what caused your accident with an autonomous vehicle. You have a right to hire a personal injury lawyer in Colorado to conduct an investigation and identify all the responsible parties.

Compensation You Can Seek After a Car Accident With a Self-Driving Vehicle in Colorado

You may stand to receive a variety of damages after suffering injuries in an accident involving an autonomous vehicle. Your potential compensation depends on the severity of your injuries and your ability to prove another party's negligence.

Some examples of damages a car accident attorney can seek include:

  • Current medical expenses, such as hospital stays, surgeries, and medication
  • Ongoing medical care expenses, such as physical therapy
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • In home-aid and home modifications
  • Lost income if you had to take time away from work to heal
  • Reduced earning capacity if your accident-related injuries prevent you from earning your pre-injury income
  • Scarring and physical disfigurement

If you lost a loved one in a car accident involving a self-driving vehicle in Colorado, a wrongful death lawyer from the Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC team in Boulder can help your family seek justice and compensation. A settlement or verdict can help your family cope in your loved one’s absence. You can seek awards like funeral expenses, burial or cremation services, and your loved one’s end-of-life medical expenses.

Call Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC for Help After a Self-Driving/Autonomous Vehicle/Car Accident

You deserve fair compensation to help you access the medical treatment you need after a car accident. Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC advocate for Colorado accident victims and their families, and we want to help you hold a negligent party responsible for your injuries. We are not afraid to take on your case, even if it involves a self-driving/autonomous vehicle or a large corporation.

Call us today at (303) 543-1000 for your free initial consultation.

Client Reviews
“I was rear ended by a driver on his cell phone. I started with another attorney, but was not receiving adequate attention to my case. I switched to Brian and everything changed. He was attentive to my situation, listened to all I had to say, and worked to resolve my case in a timely fashion. He continued to communicate and touch base even during slow parts of the process. After the settlement was resolved, he has still reached out to check in on my health and well being. I would highly recommend Brian Bradford as a lawyer.” Randy
“A driver trying to get away from the police ran a red light and broadsided my car. My injuries affected me physically, emotionally and organizationally. Hiring Steve Cook allowed me to focus on healing while ALL the legal Issues were effectively handled by his firm. Steve's patience, honest, determination. competence and experienced evaluation of my case resulted in a great settlement without having to go to trial.” Shirley
“I was injured in a car accident and I was having a hard time getting much of a response from the insurance companies. I never thought I would resort to calling an attorney, but I am so happy that I did, and that Jason Levy was that attorney. He was respectful, knowledgeable, and kind. When I was healing from major surgery, he arranged for my deposition to take place all the way out in Harford County, at a library near my home, rather than having me come into the city. He was also very persistent with the other driver's insurance company, finally negotiating an excellent settlement” Kate