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Who will be held responsible when self-driving cars crash?

Autonomous cars will likely be appearing on Oklahoma roads in the near future. The semi-autonomous Mercedes-Benz S550 is already available, and Tesla and Google are currently testing autopilot vehicles. Meanwhile, Apple is rumored to be designing its own self-driving car.

Overall, this trend will likely make U.S. roads safer. After all, the Google Car website reports that 94 percent of car crashes are caused by human error. However, a question remains as to who will be liable for auto accidents that involve self-driving vehicles.

The answer appears to be automakers. Representatives from Mercedes-Benz and Google have both said that their companies would take the blame for accidents involving their autonomous cars. Likewise, Volvo also said it would step up if its new XC90 SUV causes any crashes. The insurance claims could be significant. The competition to get the first self-driving car on U.S. roads is fierce and could lead to design errors. Plus, early adopters of any pioneering technology can testify that early models are never 100 percent perfect.

Volvo says that the transition will run more smoothly if the federal government becomes involved in the regulation process. Currently, only California, Florida, Michigan and Nevada allow automakers to test self-driving cars on their roads. However, car companies need access to all U.S. roadways in order to accurately map them for their vehicles. Volvo says that federal oversight is needed to create the necessary framework for the technology to run safely.

Car accidents cause thousands of severe injuries every year in the U.S. When the time arrives that a self-driving vehicle is involved in a collision, a personal injury attorney will likely attempt to determine the party or parties that should be held responsible for an injured victim's losses by reviewing the accident investigation report and other evidence as well as analyzing the autonomous vehicle's information systems.

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