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How Are Accidents with Self-Driving Vehicles Handled in Tennessee?

Posted on in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Campbell County personal injury attorney car accident

As the technology for self-driving vehicles continues to improve and such vehicles become more common on the road, especially for commercial purposes, the likelihood of being involved in an accident with a self-driving vehicle increases. While the general argument for using self-driving vehicles is safety since the majority of vehicle accidents are caused by human error, there have been instances over the last five years when pedestrians and other drivers were either injured or killed by self-driving automobiles. Self-driving accidents might include car collisions and truck crashes, and more. Fortunately, Tennessee law has defined self-driving vehicles in order to assist with personal injury cases that result from such accidents.

Self-Driving Vehicles = Automated Driving System (ADS) in Tennessee

In Tennessee, self-driving vehicles are defined under the umbrella of “automated driving systems.” Automated driving systems (ADS) are vehicles with advanced technology installed that have the capability to take full or partial control of a vehicle without intervention or supervision from a human operator. In this sense, the driving of ADS vehicles can be completely automated (self-driving). 

How Are ADS Personal Injury Cases Litigated in Tennessee?

Even if humans are inside the ADS vehicle at the time of the crash, the responsible party for the crash, if indeed it is the ADS vehicle’s fault and not the other driver’s fault, is the ADS itself. This means the human who owns the ADS vehicle, whether in the vehicle or not, will not be held responsible for the crash. In actuality, the ADS itself is held responsible in Tennessee, meaning the manufacturer must have a representative assess the situation and make their own determination about the accident. The ADS manufacturer’s representative must coordinate with law enforcement, evaluate the accident, and then arrange for their own legal defense or a settlement. 

What to Do If Involved in an ADS Accident

If you are involved in an ADS accident, are not at fault, and wish to seek compensation for any personal injuries you suffered, take the following steps immediately following the crash:

  1. At the site of the accident, contact law enforcement and EMS immediately as necessary.

  2. At the scene of the crash, look to see if the ADS vehicle has a human operator somewhere in the vehicle. If there is a human operator, handle the accident as you would any other accident by discussing it with that operator.

  3. If there is no human operator in the ADS, wait for law enforcement to intervene. They will likely reach out to the company or person who owns the vehicle as well as the manufacturer of the ADS technology.

  4. Seek medical treatment if injured.

  5. Hire a personal injury lawyer to litigate on your behalf for your damages.

Contact a Campbell County Personal Injury Lawyer

Whether with a self-driving car or any other type of vehicle, if you are involved in an accident and sustained injuries, consult a Jacksboro, TN car accident attorney for assistance. The skilled professionals at the Law Office of William F. Evans will help you navigate the case and secure the settlement you need and deserve to recover. Contact us at 423-449-7980 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:
http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/110/Bill/SB0151.pdf

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2018/05/01/the-state-of-self-driving-car-laws-across-the-u-s/https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/03/can-you-sue-a-robocar/556007/

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