Over the years, cars have become more and more sophisticated. Nowadays, drivers can buy vehicles that have self-driving features. In fact, Tesla has a partial self-driving system that individuals can enjoy. While these features can offer great convenience, they can also cause injuries and death if any technical malfunction occurs. If you or someone close to you has been injured due to a car defect, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our Florida auto defect lawyers understand how stressful the aftermath of an accident can be, which is why we are committed to helping our clients navigate the legal process.
Last year, a man was killed in Florida when his partially self-driving Tesla changed lanes without properly detecting the truck next to it. Now, after a yearlong investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the Tesla system capable of automatically steering and controlling the car “played a major role” in the fatal accident. The agency noted that the Autopilot functioned as intended but lacked safety mechanisms to prohibit drivers from using it improperly. In other words, the driver over-relied on the vehicle automation feature when he used the automated feature on a road for which it was not designed. As a result, human error coupled with a lack of sufficient system controls caused the deadly crash.
Liability issues in cases involving automated cars can be tricky. One party that could potentially be liable is the manufacturer of the car if the car’s automated features (i.e., the Tesla’s autopilot function) failed to work properly and was a direct cause of the accident. For instance, if the man’s death was caused because the autopilot feature failed to detect a truck in the neighboring lane, and that is exactly the type of activity it was designed to detect on that type of road, a product liability claim may be appropriate.