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Self-Driving Cars May Change Personal Injury Cases Forever

Whether we follow it closely or not, the future always marches closer to today, and when it finally arrives, it can have a huge impact on the way we live. No one thought electricity would be much more than a novelty when it was first discovered. People couldn’t understand who, aside from scientists, would ever find computers useful, and why would you want to be able to carry one around in your pocket unless you were a math student? Now self-driving cars are being tested not just in some states of America, but in different parts of the world, and when they arrive, they could potentially change how traffic and personal injury cases are interpreted, in the same way that that the car itself changed the rule of the road from the world of horses we had before.

Always Watching

One of the most interesting things about a self-driving car experience—especially from a lawyer’s perspective—is how much hard data a self-driving car provides when an accident occurs. Unlike normal cars, that rely on the drivers to analyze collected information like speed and weather, a self-driving car collects enormous amount of data so the car itself can make these decisions. And it records this data. A self-driving car is constantly aware, multiple times per second, of the cars around it, what direction they are traveling and even their speed.

All of this is done not just to inform the car’s computers of data they need to make a decision, they are there to protect the car, the driver and the manufacturer in the event of a mishap. Self-driving cars are programmed to drive safely and obey all traffic laws. In the few accidents they have gotten into during testing, it has always been discovered that it was due to human error from the other drivers, and it has always been backed up by that massive collection of data the cars themselves are always acquiring.

In the future, when an accident occurs, people will no longer need to hope that a particular intersection had a surveillance camera, or that many eye witnesses were present to give an account of what happened. If self-driving car was present, we can simply look to the car itself and it will provide us with more raw data about traffic, direction, speed and driver action than we would ever need. There have already been cases where self-driving cars have provided data about rear-end collisions that show that the car itself was lawfully stopped at a stop sign when the car behind it (because of distracted driving) failed to break and hit the car.

This is the kind of evidence that makes a personal injury case rock-solid, and will make seeking damages far easier.

Fewer Excuses For Failure

In a world where people use self-driving cars, the damage people seek for automobile mishaps can be much higher because it takes a greater amount of negligence to get into an accident in such a time. Imagine an age when people can actually drink alcohol, step into their cars and not have to worry about driving under influence of alcohol charges because the car itself drives the person home. In a situation where someone still insists on driving drunk and gets into an accident, not only is the tragedy even greater, the damages can be much, much higher, because the driver deliberately ignored the fact that the car could have prevented this action and chose to ignore this.

Insurance companies are also much more likely to re-evaluate auto insurance policies in the future, as people who use self-driving cars are far less likely to get into accidents, while those who insist on driving on their own are far more likely. In one sense, it will be the same situation that life insurance companies already have between those that take out a policy and don’t smoke compared to those that do. The penalties will be far more severe and the stakes higher for those that insist they prefer to ignore the safety of self-driving cars so they can drive faster and more recklessly than other people.

In other words, refusing to use a self-driving car is a personal statement that says “I prefer to ignore the rules of the road,” and this will play heavily into how insurance and personal injury cases will play out in court when vehicular accidents occur.

The future is coming, and personal injury lawyers like those of us at Goldman Babboni & Walsh always keep an eye on it, because when the future arrives, it always changes how we live, and how the law affects us. Self-driving cars are definitely going to do that for all of us when they finally arrive.

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

Self-Driving Cars May Change Personal Injury Cases Forever

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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