What Happens If You Are Hit by a Self-Driving Vehicle in California?

hit by self-driving car

With the rise of self-driving cars comes the rise of self-driving car accidents.

In fact, there have been over 400 self-driving car accidents reported to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in 2022 alone. And the problem is just going to get bigger.

The consequences of being hit by an autonomous vehicle can be just as serious as in any other motor vehicle accident.

But who is at fault in a self-driving car accident when no one is technically behind the wheel?

In this article, the experienced personal injury team at Starpoint, LC Attorneys at Law, explains what happens if you are hit by a self-driving vehicle in California.

We will talk about liability for drivers using semi-autonomous modes in cars like Teslas.

We will also discuss product liability and what role car and tech companies may have in self-driving car accidents. 

Who Is At Fault in a Self-Driving Car Accident?

If a self-driving car hits you in California, you will need to demonstrate who was at fault.

In some cases, self-driving cars may have a real person giving the car directions. In other cases, the car may be fully autonomous and rely on pre-programmed software to navigate.

Liability may be slightly different in each type of self-driving car accident.

The Driver of the Car May Be Liable

The driver of the car may be liable for your injuries in accidents like a Tesla self-driving car accident.

Teslas are not fully autonomous. Teslas require an attentive driver who can take over from the Autopilot system at any time.

The Car Company May Be Liable

In other situations, the car manufacturer may be liable for your self-driving car accident injuries under California’s product liability laws.

Driverless vehicles can malfunction due to mechanical or system failures and software bugs. 

Because product liability laws hold manufacturers strictly liable for injuries caused by their product, you do not have to show that the car company was negligent in its manufacture or design of a self-driving car.

You need to show only that their product was dangerous and it caused the accident.

What Kind of Compensation Can I Get in a Self-Driving Car Accident?

A self-driving car accident is similar to other personal injury lawsuits. Damages may include:

  • Lost wages,
  • Lost future earnings,
  • Current and future medical bills,
  • Vehicle damage,
  • Pain and suffering,
  • Court costs,
  • Emotional distress,
  • Loss of consortium, and
  • Wrongful death.

This is not an exhaustive list, and damages may vary depending on the facts of your specific case.

Speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to understand what your rights and recovery may be.

The Starpoint Law Difference

At Starpoint Law, our Los Angeles car accident lawyers advocate for car accident victims like you.

If you or your loved one were hurt in a self-driving car accident in Southern California, we are here to help.

We’ll take the time to listen to your story and develop a legal strategy that best suits your needs.

For a free, fully confidential review of your car accident injury claim, contact our team today.

Author Photo

Aidin Ghavimi

Aidin is a partner at Starpoint LC, Attorneys at Law, and focuses on personal injury and employment law cases in and around Southern California. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the Loyola School of Law and his Bachelor’s from USC. Aidin’s primary goal is to bring justice to his clients and to ensure they are able to move on with their lives after a serious injury.

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