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News is circulating about an auto accident caused, at least in part, by on of Google’s self-driving cars. A report filed by Google indicated that the crash, which took place in Mountain View, California in mid-February, occurred when the self-driving car tried to get around some sandbags, colliding with the side of a bus traveling in the same direction. Apparently, both the test driver and the car “believed” the bus would slow down, otherwise let the self-driving car through.

Luckily, there were no injuries, at least not according to reports. The incident does raise some interesting questions for personal injury auto accident attorneys and the litigation surrounding auto accidents. Can a vehicle possess a belief or awareness? How does this effect the question of reasonableness of one’s actions? Does a vehicle testify as to that belief in court? In a hypothetical situation where the test driver of the self-driving car was injured, is there a way to introduce the “belief” of the self-driving car as evidence to support a case against the bus driver? Or to defend a case against the bus driver seeking compensation for his or her personal injuries? When the car is in autonomous driving mode, are both the test driver and the company responsible for the injuries caused?

There are many areas of potential liability and pitfalls to explore under such circumstances, which can make it very important to consult with an experienced attorney that handles these types of cases. At Heiting & Irwin, we have over 100 years combined experience with injury cases, and we offer free consultations, so please do not hesitate to call us.

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