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Driverless Cars: Is America Ready, Or Will This Be A Personal Injury Nightmare?


By now, most everyone has heard that driverless, automated cars have made their way onto our roads; specifically, most have heard about the numerous accidents in which several of them have been involved, some of them serious crashes that have resulted in fatalities. Our agencies and states appear to be moving forward, paving the way by providing for guidelines to try and regulate the testing and use of these vehicles on the road.  But what do these gestures mean to the everyday consumer, and the safety of our families?

Auto accidents are already a leading cause of serious injuries in Florida every year, making auto accident claims almost routine when it comes to insurance companies and attorneys negotiating the no-fault system and personal injury protection. But how will this change if and when your driverless car takes a turn for the worst, leading to a serious accident, where people are injured or killed?

Florida Resident Killed

Perhaps the worst accident thus far involved Florida resident Joshua Brown’s Tesla vehicle driving under an 18-wheel truck on the highway while in Autopilot mode. According to Tesla, the vehicle failed to distinguish the truck from the sky, resulting in Joshua’s death.

These vehicles are expected to be a common reality on our roads by 2020; and they’ve already been used on the roads without first being properly tested for safety defects like this one. “Regular” cars will always have an element of human error; but it appears that these new driverless cars have their own brand of error, and we may not be ready for it. Perhaps this is why 84 percent of people surveyed indicated that they were afraid of riding in these driverless vehicles, and trusted their own driving skills over that of the car’s computer.

New Questions of Liability

What’s frightening about these accidents is how difficult it can be to trace liability as compared to auto accidents involving “regular” cars. What many have remarked could be the most frightening aspect of these crashes is that the driverless car will, at the last minute, be forced to choose between your life and that of a pedestrian’s. For example, if two people suddenly run out into the road, they may not hear your car coming because it is electric and doesn’t make much noise. With little time to brake, your car will have to make the choice between hitting the pedestrians, and sending you left into oncoming traffic (or right, into a building or sidewalk). In effect, your driverless car is charged with making a serious ethical decision.

Boca Raton Auto Accident Attorneys

Regardless of the circumstances of your auto accident, at Lavalle, Brown & Ronan, P.A., we can help you figure out whether or not you have a claim, and what your next steps should be. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Boca Raton auto accident, contact our office. With decades of experience recovering compensation for injury victims, we are here to serve our clients aggressively for any and all injury claims here in the sunshine state.


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