With each passing year, many companies are getting into the industry of autonomous cars. This is good news because technology cannot be held back, and these cars do have a role to play in the society. However, with new technology come new risks that must be addressed. For example, autonomous cars are susceptible to hacking, which comes with related disastrous dangers.
The Background: Plausibility
In 2016, a group of white-hat hackers hacked into a Tesla Model S car and managed to unlock the cars (without a key fob) and activate the brakes to stop the car. Now, white-hat hackers have good intentions; they reveal security vulnerabilities so that those affected can address them. Imagine what kind of mayhem hackers with more nefarious intentions can cause if they decide to hack into autonomous cars.
One of the main questions that arises out of such a hypothetical scenario is this: who pays for the damages? If hackers manage to gain control of a car and cause you injury, there are several people you may be able to hold liable. Here are three examples of those parties.
This is the most obvious group you would hold responsible for your damages. After all, taking control of another person's car is an illegal act, and, if the hackers are convicted of the crime, you would be able to use their conviction as evidence in your injury lawsuit. However, there is one big potential complication with this approach, and that is the difficulty of identifying the hackers. Your hackers may not even be within the country.
The Car's Manufacturer
Autonomous cars, just like other products, should be designed safely. Therefore, you can argue that an autonomous car that can be hacked has been unsafely designed. That argument would allow you to hold the manufacturer of the hacked car responsible for your injuries.
The Owner of the Car
There are also circumstances that would allow you to hold the owner of the hacked car liable for your injuries. For example, if the manufacturer had recalled the car for an upgrade or issued a security patch for the vulnerability, you would be able to seek damages from the owner if they delayed or refused to take advantage of those measures.
This is a hypothetical scenario, but it is a plausible one. Therefore, in case an autonomous car does crash into your car, don't assume that you are doomed just because there was no driver behind the wheel. Consult a personal injury attorney for the evaluation of the unique circumstances and to help you pursue compensation.
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