Autonomous vehicles are becoming a more common sight in Florida and around the country. As this technology continues to advance, AVs are expected to become widely available within the next few years. Questions have arisen about who might be liable when an autonomous vehicle causes an accident since the traditional liability models will not fit these types of scenarios.

In regular motor vehicle accidents, the motorists who are operating the vehicles might be wholly or partially liable for causing the collisions. However, autonomous vehicles that are being operated in autonomous mode are being controlled by the algorithms of the systems that are installed. Safety drivers are required to sit behind the wheels and take over control of the vehicles when necessary. Other motorists around the AVs may also contribute to the accidents. Liability might not be clear following an AV accident, leading to researchers at Columbia University to propose a new liability model.

To better understand liability in an AV accident, the researchers evaluated the interactions of all of the parties involved in an AV accident, including the system designer, the manufacturer, the safety driver and the other motorist. They found that motorists traveling around AVs might use risky driving behaviors because they assume that autonomous vehicles will take evasive actions. The manufacturing companies are profit-driven and may prioritize their profits over the inclusion of more expensive safety features. The researchers recommended that the government should offer subsidies to AV manufacturers and designers to encourage them to include safety features.

People who are seriously injured in AV accidents might want to consult with experienced motor vehicle accident lawyers. The lawyers may be able to investigate what occurred to identify all of the liable parties. This may help their clients file a claim to recover damages in an amount that fairly compensates them for their losses.