As technology advances and changes the way we engage in our everyday activities (for example, I’m dictating this to my computer, which, while great, also leaves me with the unsettling feeling that I’m talking to an imaginary friend), we are confronted with, unfortunately, new and novel disasters (for example, this blog). One area of human achievement that is slowly but surely impacting our driving habits is the self-driving automobile. At the moment, for the large part, the cars in question are semi-autonomous and require some driver interaction. When artificial and human intelligence (my computer just raised a skeptical eyebrow – that’s right, my imaginary friend comes with facial features) to cause a P.I., what will the MVA lawsuits look like?
To begin, the investigation of the crash itself becomes more complicated. Law enforcement will investigate whether the car or the human is in control of the vehicle. The issues raised are limitless, and beyond the scope of this blog (and my voice is getting hoarse anyway), so we’ll focus on the subsequent lawsuit.
A run-of-the-mill personal injury complaint quickly turns into a hybrid negligence/products liability tome when the plaintiff’s lawyer sues both the driver and the manufacturer. Or, maybe, the plaintiff only sues the driver, but the driver’s insurance carrier, seeking to avoid liability and/or make life unduly intricate, files a third-party lawsuit against the manufacturer. Any way you slice it, things get complicated, not to mention expensive. In the future, if an innocent driver suffers a non-surgical injury at the hands (or circuits – yeah, computer, I’m talking to you) of a semi-autonomous automobile, will any lawyer take the case given the expenses and complexities involved?
The giant plaintiff’s law firms who have the MVA lawsuits down to a science may suddenly be confronted with obstacles that gum up the works – and running on autopilot just won’t due.