The Personal Injury Window – AV Vehicles

Alan Bacon, one of our leading Personal Injury Lawyers, takes a look out of his ‘Personal Injury Window’ to bring us the view from his perspective on what are currently the hot topics within his professional world:

“In this article I look at potential liability issues surrounding automated vehicle (AV) technology using Artificial Intelligence

The UK government appear to be enthusiastic about this technology to the extent that they have beaten the US to the statute book passing the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act last July.

But what if it goes wrong – who is liable for an injury caused by an AV?  Is it the AV or the human driver? To some extent this is likely to turn on the level of automation against which technology can be judged. At the lower levels the person in the vehicle is still considered to be driving, but this could rise up to the level where the car can fully drive itself.

So if someone is hit by an AV which, for example changed lanes when it should not have done, is the “driver” responsible in the normal sense or would it be those responsible for the development and/or calibration of the AV.

It seems to me that in the New Age we may be representing injured persons in claims not only against human drivers (which as now would be dealt with by the driver’s insurers) but against a machine with varying degrees of technological culpability.

These are very difficult issues. Hopefully with the passage of time it will all become clearer, but it seems to me that there is a real risk that we may end up in a “Brave New World” where the injured person could be pushed from pillar to post whilst insurers, manufacturers, drivers, tech companies blame each other.

So it would be wise to be as clear as you can be about all this before relaxing and letting your AV drive you up the motorway.”

Alan Bacon – Director, Head of Department

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