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New California rule affects accidents caused by self-driving cars

Liability in motor vehicle accidents is often a simple case in California. Several laws and codes dictate when drivers are at fault in collisions, as well as when no driver is at fault. But the legal ground is still fresh under the concept of when there is no driver.

The Golden State is home to Silicon Valley and other hotbeds of technological innovation, and the state has often been prepared to give some industries leeway as they develop self-driving cars and automated driving systems. A motor vehicle manufacturer proposed a guideline that exempts these companies from liability if a crash was caused by faulty code or sensors.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles eliminated this guideline in the hopes of clarifying liability if an automated driving system causes an injury or death. This new development will take effect in early 2018, after public comments showed considerable objections to any exemption of liability.

This change in the rules is not a rejection of self-driving car technology. It is more of an alteration that holds companies creating the guidance systems and vehicle sensors to the same standards that human drivers must answer to in the case of a car accident.

Victims of injurious or deadly motor vehicle collisions of all kinds have rights to be exercised by themselves or their survivors if they are seeking restitution for expenses and costs incurred after the accident. An attorney may help victims and their families sort out all the options that the California legal system offers to people in this unfortunate situation.

Source: Engadget, “California axes self-driving car rule limiting liability for crashes,” Jon Fingas, Dec. 02, 2017