Each year, new technologies emerge in automobiles that are aimed at making drivers safer and preventing car and truck accidents. For example, cars may come with new high-tech safety features, such as forward collision or blind spot warnings, or automatic emergency braking. One very popular new feature is autopilot technology, which the car manufacturer Tesla is famous for developing. The autopilot feature allows the vehicle to steer, merge, accelerate, and brake automatically. However, drivers are still supposed to be actively supervising their vehicles while in self-driving mode, and they may be held liable through a car accident lawsuit if they are not.
A recent Indiana accident highlights the potentially large role that autopilot can play in civil lawsuits brought against negligent drivers. According to a local news report covering the accident, a Tesla car was traveling along I-70 on a Sunday morning when the driver failed to see a parked firetruck. The Tesla crashed into the rear of the firetruck, which was parked with its emergency lights activated, responding to another crash along the highway. The driver of the Tesla and his wife were seriously injured and transferred to a nearby hospital. The wife was tragically later pronounced dead at the hospital.
The driver of the Tesla told investigators that he regularly uses his vehicle’s autopilot mode but cannot remember whether or not he had it activated at the time of the accident. Investigators are working to find out whether autopilot was activated because that fact can change the liability analysis in this case.
Accidents that occur when a car is in autopilot mode may be attributed to the car’s manufacturer, especially if autopilot malfunctioned in some way. In general, a manufacturer has a duty to ensure that the vehicle was safe and that the autopilot feature was checked for errors. A failure to do so can open the manufacturer up to an Indiana product liability lawsuit.
Additionally, whether the autopilot feature was activated at the time of the crash can affect the driver’s liability. This is because the feature comes with explicit instructions that drivers should be actively supervising the vehicle, even with the feature turned on. Thus, a driver who was distracted on his phone or who turned around to look at something in the backseat may be found negligent for failing to actively supervise his vehicle.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has recently suffered injuries in an Indiana car accident, you may be wondering about the legal options that you have. Indiana law allows people injured by a negligent driver to bring a lawsuit and, if successful, recover compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. However, the process for holding another person or entity liable may be more complicated than it seems. Attorney Burton A. Padove understands this complicated area of law and can help you navigate the process to obtain the compensation that you deserve. Contact Padove Law today to learn more about how the firm can help you pursue compensation in the aftermath of an accident. We have years of experience advocating on behalf of Indiana victims, so you can trust that your case is in good hands with Attorney Padove. Contact Padove Law today for a free, no-obligation consultation at 877-446-5294.