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Autonomous vehicles require new liability models

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Autonomous vehicles are becoming more accepted and may soon find their way into the mainstream in Tennessee. As more AVs begin sharing the roads with other drivers, some questions have arisen about the determination of liability in accidents that involve AVs.

Uber AV accident leads to liability questions

In 2018, an Uber autonomous vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona. After investigating the accident, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that Uber, the safety driver behind the wheel, the pedestrian, and the state of Arizona all shared fault for the accident and death. Researchers at Columbia Engineering and Columbia Law Schools decided to investigate the potential liability issues involved with AV accidents to derive a new model of liability that might be used.

Applying game theory to AV accidents

The researchers applied game theory to figure out the motivations of each party and the likely manner in which they might act when interacting with each other in traffic. They determined that other drivers who travel around AVs on the roads are likelier to engage in risky driving behaviors because they assume that the AVs will take action to avoid accidents. They also determined that the manufacturers and designers are likelier to prioritize profits over installing better safety mechanisms and called for governments to subsidize the manufacturers and designers to encourage them to prioritize safety.

When AVs are available to the public in the next few years, more accidents involving these vehicles are likely to occur. People who suffer injuries in accidents with autonomous vehicles might benefit from talking to experienced personal injury attorneys. The lawyers might be able to identify all of the parties that contributed to the cause of the accident so that they can be named as defendants. Naming all of the liable parties is important for helping injured victims to recover the damages to which they may be entitled. If a plaintiff fails to name a party that partially contributed to the accident, he or she will not be able to recover the percentage of fault that is attributable to that party.