St. Louis Self-Driving Vehicle Accident Attorney
Helping victims of autonomous and driverless car crashes in MO and IL
Driverless vehicles are beginning to roll out on streets and highways in test runs across the country. While this has the potential to transform the transportation industry as we know it, some autonomous vehicles have failed those tests and caused accidents resulting in significant injuries and fatalities.
As this technology continues to grow, it’s also creating a new spate of personal injury claims that require unique interpretations of the law. At The Hayden Law Firm, we are at the forefront of this fast-growing and uncharted area of our legal system. If you were involved and injured in a collision with a self-driving car that wasn’t your fault, get in touch with us today for a free, no-risk consultation. We serve the greater St. Louis area and Illinois.
What are self-driving cars? Are they safe?
Self-driving cars, also known as autonomous vehicles, are run by an intricate system of cameras, software, and sensors that work together to allow a vehicle to safely navigate through local roads and highways. Many states have already passed legislation related to operating autonomous and partly autonomous vehicles, with more to follow.
Some of the world’s leading auto manufacturers have invested billions into self-driving and autonomous car research, including Tesla, Waymo, and Uber. Proponents of self-driving vehicles claim they will help avoid common human errors, like drunk driving and distracted driving. And while self-driving cars certainly have the potential to bring remarkable change, fully autonomous vehicles – like any vehicle – are simply not 100% safe.
Statistics show that over the past few years, self-driving cars were involved in 13 serious crashes, with six fatalities. Two of these deaths were pedestrians, and the other four were drivers and/or passengers in autonomous vehicles. Further, self-driving cars tend to have a higher rate of accidents than traditional vehicles, with 9.1 crashes per million miles driven for autonomous vehicles, as compared to 4.1 crashes per million miles driven for regular cars and trucks.
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What are the six levels of autonomous driving?
Vehicles can feature six levels of autonomy – from Level 0 to Level Five.
- Level 0: No autonomy. This means there are no self-driving features whatsoever, and the driver performs all operating tasks.
- Level 1: Driver assistance. The driver still controls the vehicle, but it may have features that assist them, like advanced driver assistance systems for steering and braking. However, these features only work one at a time.
- Level 2: Partial automation. Level 2 vehicles have driver assistance systems that work together, like steering and braking, but drivers must remain engaged with the task of driving at all times.
- Level 3: Conditional automation. A driver is not required to monitor the traffic environment, as the vehicle is automated enough to do so – but a driver must be in the car and ready to take control of the vehicle at any time.
- Level 4: High automation. With Level 4, the vehicle is capable of performing all driving functions under certain conditions. Drivers have the option to control the vehicle.
- Level 5: Full automation. Full automation means the vehicle can perform all driving functions under all conditions. A human driver may or may not have the option to control the vehicle.
Federal and state laws are scrambling to catch up to self-driving vehicle technology.
What are self-driving car laws in Missouri?
Self-driving car laws are still pending in many states across the country. However, as autonomous technologies continue to develop, more legislation must be passed to establish the protocols for road legality and driverless accident liability.
The federal SELF DRIVE Act lays out responsibilities this industry must follow, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the governing body over this emerging industry. Eventually, all 50 states will need clear-cut laws on all aspects of autonomous vehicles before they are officially on our roads.
The SELF DRIVE Act, which stands for Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research In Vehicle Evolution, “establishes the federal role in ensuring the safety of highly automated vehicles by encouraging the testing and deployment of such vehicles. A ‘highly automated vehicle’ is a motor vehicle, other than a commercial motor vehicle, that is equipped with an automated driving system capable of performing the entire dynamic driving task on a sustained basis.”
Who is liable in a self-driving car crash?
Self-driving car accidents are a brand-new territory of liability and personal injury law. Because there is no person technically driving the vehicle, determining the responsible party for your injuries could potentially become a matter of product liability.
For example, the most likely reason a self-driving car caused an accident might be due to a flaw in its design, software programming, failed sensor, defective part, lack of maintenance, or an infrastructure problem. If this is the case, then an experienced St. Louis attorney at The Hayden Law Firm may bring a claim against:
- Designer(s) of the self-driving vehicle
- Self-driving vehicle manufacturer
- Vehicle distributor
- Assembling manufacturer
- Parts supplier
- City, state, or federal entity
Because of the potentially complex matter of assigning liability, don’t hesitate to contact a skilled self-driving car accident attorney at The Hayden Law Firm if you are injured in a crash.
How much is my St. Louis self-driving vehicle accident claim worth?
If you or a loved one were injured in a self-driving car crash – whether as a passenger, a pedestrian or bicyclist, or driving in another vehicle – you may be eligible for compensation for your losses, both financial and non-financial. These can include:
- Lost wages, current and future
- Reduced earning capacity
- Medical expenses, current and future
- Mental or emotional distress
- Property damage
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Rehabilitation and therapy expenses
As your attorney, our job is to work for the highest possible compensation, and we are not afraid to go to trial if that’s what it takes to secure justice. Contact our offices as soon as possible after your accident, while the details of the crash are still fresh in your (and any witnesses) mind. A personal injury claim must meet time restrictions set forth under your state’s statute of limitations, which in Missouri is five years.
How can a St. Louis self-driving car accident attorney help my case?
As driverless cars and trucks roll down highways across the country, laws will be introduced and continually modified in order to accommodate this new era of transportation — and The Hayden Law Firm will be there to defend the rights of the injured.
We have a thorough understanding of Missouri traffic statutes as well as the interplay between auto accidents and product liability law, keeping informed of the latest areas of litigation and emerging automotive technologies.
Moving forward, these types of cases are not going to be simple or straightforward. Many companies behind autonomous driving may rush their product to market without taking proper care, all for the sake of profit. If you are injured in one of these accidents, you will be going up against a company that’s large, profitable, and covered by an extensive insurance policy. The Hayden Law Firm can put you on a level playing field after a devastating accident. We want to help you get the compensation you need to recover properly.
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Self-driving and autonomous vehicle accident lawyer in St. Louis
If you were injured in a crash that wasn’t your fault with an autonomous or self-driving car, The Hayden Law Firm can help protect your right to compensation. We determine the negligent party and hold them accountable for your injuries, demanding financial compensation for your losses. Please call our offices at 314-480-3100 or fill out our contact form for a free, no-risk consultation. We are based in St. Louis, Missouri, but our firm proudly serves clients throughout Missouri and Illinois.