Car manufacturers are using software to control more and more car functions. While most of the inventions work great, some increase the risk of accidents in certain situations. A basic understanding of these systems can help you pursue damages if you suffer an accident related to software failure.
Examples of Systems and Accident Scenarios
Car technologies or software systems come in various forms. Here are some common ones that contribute to auto accidents.
Some cars come with automatic parking systems that ease the parking process, especially in tight spaces. For some systems, the driver and the parking system work together. For example, the driver may control the braking and acceleration as the system steers the car. Some systems take over the entire parking process.
System failure can lead to an accident in either case. For example, the car might not stop when it needs to, leading to a collision.
Autonomous driving systems that steer, brake, and accelerate are gaining momentum by the day. Most of the systems still require the driver to be in the driver’s seat and initiate manual control if the system fails. Again, a system failure can lead to a crash in various scenarios. An example is if the car tries to navigate a turn at high speed and flips.
Accident Avoidance Systems
Some cars also come with an accident avoidance system designed to prevent or mitigate the severity of auto accidents. For example, some cars have systems that monitor the road and car speed to initiate braking in case a collision is imminent. An accident might occur if the system fails, and the car erroneously stops.
If you initiate an auto accident claim, you must identify the liable party you want to compensate for your damages. Below are some potentially liable parties in case of a software-failure accident.
You may file a product liability claim against the car manufacturer if you can prove that software failure caused the accident. The legal theory of product liability allows you to pursue damages from a manufacturer, vendor, or designer who sells you a defective product.
As previously mentioned, most cars still require driver involvement for safety purposes. Thus, a driver’s mistake can lead to an accident, even for the so-called self-driving cars. For example, car manufacturers typically require drivers to control the car in case of a system failure. In such a case, a driver who gets distracted and doesn’t control the car is liable for the damages.
As with other car accidents, don’t restrict the defendants to the car’s driver or manufacturer in case of a software-caused accident. Other third parties, such as road maintenance contractors or the car’s software programmers, might be liable for the crash. That might be the case, for example, if the car manufacturer outsourced the software programming to a third party.
Proof of Liability
You must prove the defendant’s liability to win your settlement. You are likely to need these two forms of evidence, in addition to the usual forms of evidence (such as accident photographs) in auto accident cases.
1. Recall Information
The car manufacturer might issue a recall if the software issue affects several cars and presents a safety issue. Check if a recall exists for your car and its specific issue. If you find a relevant recall, you can use the information to prove the manufacturer’s knowledge of and liability for the issue.
2. Expert Testimony
The average person may struggle to understand automatic car systems and their failures. Thus, you may need an expert witness to explain to the court how the software operates and how its failure caused the crash. The expert must be conversant with the system that caused your accident.
Shapiro Law Group has a wealth of experience in auto accident claims. Contact us for a free initial consultation to determine the best way to pursue your damages.