Do Self-Driving Vehicles Decide Who Lives If a Crash is About to Happen?

autonomous vehicle on road at nightIt may seem inevitable that we will all be using self-driving cars in the not-too-distant future.  Approximately $80 billion is already invested in this technology.  It is predicted there will be tens of thousands of semi-autonomous vehicles on the road in just a few years.

The hope is that these vehicles could prevent tens of thousands of crashes and save a lot of lives.  Distracted driving would no longer be an issue because the people looking at their phones would not be the ones responsible for driving their cars.

Driverless cars can also return lost time to those who commute to work and provide more mobility for senior citizens, as well as those with mobility limitations.

However, are autonomous cars as safe as everyone seems to think?  Will self-driving cars prioritize human life the way other human beings do?

For example, an article from USA Today lays out a situation where a self-driving vehicle would need to decide what to do when a crash cannot be avoided:

As a self-driving vehicle approaches an incline, a school bus veers toward it.  The self-driving car does not have enough time to safely stop to avoid a collision, and the passenger does not have enough time to take control of the car.  What will the self-driving vehicle do?

  • Swerve into the trees on the roadside, which could save the people on the bus but potentially kill the driver of the car that was built to be safe?
  • Swerve around the bus and into the lane of oncoming traffic, which may save the driver of the self-driving car, but possibly cause the bus driver to swerve into the trees, endangering the driver and other occupants of the bus?
  • Collide with the bus, which may kill both the driver of the self-driving car and people on the bus?

What are self-driving cars programmed to do in these situations?  Should the companies decide, or should the federal government set definitive guidelines for the entire nation?

No matter how the issue is regulated, manufacturers will likely need to program vehicles, so they know what to do to avoid a crash with a jaywalker, bicyclist or even a squirrel or other wild animal.

Those continuing to develop this technology will need to decide what objects self-driving vehicles identify and how to respond.  Could this involve millions of computer simulations to try to prevent the car from killing anyone?

Will Fully Autonomous Vehicles be Error-Free?

You may think most or all the potential problems with driverless vehicles will be addressed before all vehicles on the road are fully autonomous.  However, maybe the reason for some of the more recent crashes with semi-autonomous cars is that manufacturers are still figuring everything out.

Autonomous vehicles may not be able to prevent all crashes, particularly those related to human error.

For example, autonomous vehicles may have trouble avoiding some crashes with pedestrians.  If a pedestrian darts out into the road, a human driver may be more likely to react and prevent a crash.  Human drivers may think ahead of the emergency.  For example, most experienced drivers know to slow down and take extra precautions in a school zone.  How would a car know that?  The car might only react after a child runs into the road.

Driverless cars may also struggle with prediction errors, such as misjudgments about the speed of other vehicles or speed when there are poor road conditions.  Self-driving cars may not always react instantaneously to these situations.

If a bicycle rider suddenly veers into the path of an autonomous car, it may not respond quickly enough to avoid a collision.

Even those vehicles that have laser, radar and camera sensors make mistakes, according to Duke University robotics professor Missy Cummings.  This is especially true in States with inclement weather such as Minnesota.  Ice, snow, and rain all affect the laser, radar and camera technology.

Creating self-driving cars that drive just as well as people do is already a big challenge. These vehicles would need to be safer than cars with human drivers to deliver on the promises people have heard about autonomous vehicles.

Thousands of lives may be saved by this technology, but there will still be crashes, and people involved in these crashes will still suffer from injuries and other losses.

Were You in a Car Crash? Call for a Free Consultation

Our Minneapolis car accident attorneys may be able to help you seek compensation for damages.  There are no upfront fees and you are not obligated to hire our firm to represent you.

Learn more about how we may be able to assist you in a free consultation.  At TSR Injury Law, we have recovered millions on behalf of our clients.  Our attorneys hold memberships in various legal organizations, such as The National Trial Lawyers Association and the American Board of Trial Advocates.

Give us a call today. No upfront fees. (612) TSR-TIME

How Do Personal Injury Claims Involving Children Differ?

boy with arm wrapped upDespite everything you do to prevent your child from suffering an injury, it could still happen.  Unfortunately, these injuries are often the result of someone else’s negligence, such as the other driver in a car crash, a school bus driver, teacher or the owner of a pool.

If you think your child’s injury could have been prevented, you should call a licensed attorney to find out if compensation may be available.  For example, you may be able to recover compensation for the cost of treating your child’s injuries, including future medical treatment.

Below, learn more about how personal injury claims involving children differ from those involving adults, including how compensation is paid out and how these claims are filed.

TSR Injury Law offers a free legal consultation to discuss your child’s injury.  We take these and other types of personal injury cases on contingency, which means no upfront fees for representing you.

Filing a Claim on Behalf of a Child

Generally, if a minor/child has a valid personal injury claim against someone else, his or her parent or legal guardian must file it on his or her behalf.  The parent or legal guardian has the authority to take the necessary steps to pursue compensation, including hiring an attorney who can negotiate a settlement or even file a lawsuit, if necessary.

You may be able to seek compensation for your child’s medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, pain and suffering, and potentially future lost wages and income.  For example, if your child suffers a life-changing injury, he or she may lose career opportunities because of physical or mental limitations.  Your child may also need disability accommodations for school, and you may be able to recover these expenses on behalf of your child.

Settlements Must Be Approved by the Court

If your Bloomington personal injury lawyer negotiates a settlement, it must be approved by the court.  Even if everyone agrees a settlement is fair, the Judge has the final say.  This law is in place to help protect the child’s best interests, as children could be pressured or influenced by their parents, insurance companies or their attorney.  The other reason for court approval of settlements is that minors are not able to enter legally binding contracts.

How Are Settlement Proceeds Distributed?

If your claim is successful, and the court approves the settlement, the funds will be invested for the child.  A certificate of deposit may be purchased at a bank or a qualified assignment might be used to place the funds in an annuity.  No matter what, the child will not be able to access these funds until he or she turns 18 (or older if the terms of the annuity are set up differently).  The only way to obtain the funds before the child turns 18 is through a court order.  Banks and annuities must have A-plus ratings before the Judge would allow the funds to be deposited.  Rate of return often takes a back seat to security of return.

Once the child turns 18 (or the age planned for in the annuity), the funds belong to the child, and they are his or hers to do with as he or she pleases.  Parents often are concerned an 18-year-old is no longer a child but might not make the best financial decisions.  The decision to use a CD or annuity is part of the legal consultation.  There are also tax consequences depending on which plan is used.

Types of Personal Injury Claims Filed on Behalf of Children

There are many different situations when parents may have grounds to pursue compensation on their child’s behalf.

For example, your child may be eligible for compensation for injuries suffered in a:

  • Car crash
  • Slip and fall accident on another’s property
  • Swimming pool accident
  • Defective product accident
  • Boating accident
  • Dog bite
  • Daycare abuse incident
  • Medical malpractice incident

Children are more susceptible to serious injuries than adults, particularly with something like a dog bite/attack or daycare abuse.  The injuries your child suffers could take a long time to heal, and sometimes children never completely recover.

TSR Injury Law is here to help you during this difficult time.  We represent injury victims throughout Minnesota and have a proven track record of success.

Need Legal Help? Call Today to See How We Could Help

We know how stressful it can be when a child is injured because of another’s negligence.  Talking to a lawyer can be an important step in the recovery process.

However, you want to talk to a lawyer with experience and a history of recovering compensation.  At TSR Injury Law, we have obtained over a billion on behalf of our personal injury clients.

There is no risk in contacting us, as the initial consultation is free, and you are not obligated to hire our firm.  We also do not charge attorney fees unless we are successful in recovering compensation for you.

We are here to answer your questions. Phone: (612) TSR-TIME

How Much Do You Know About Your Car Insurance Policy?

pen on top of car insurance applicationIf someone asked you about the amount of coverage your car insurance may provide if you file a claim, how many details could you provide?  Would you know the different coverages you have available?

Unfortunately, most policyholders remember very little about what is written in their insurance policy.  After buying the policy, they may not take another look at it until they need to file a claim after a crash.  Even then they may just take the insurance company’s word for it about the coverage in their insurance policy and not check for themselves.

This is one of the reasons it is so important to hire a qualified lawyer to help you seek compensation.  The Minneapolis car crash lawyers at TSR Injury Law have decades of combined experience and a proven track record.  We have obtained over a billion in compensation for our clients.

What Drivers Know and Do Not Know About Car Insurance

In October 2017, The Zebra published a survey of 1,165 car insurance customers to assess how much they knew about their insurance policies.  Even though 81 percent of respondents think they have the insurance they need, few respondents were able to correctly identify common types of coverage.

In fact, nearly 45 percent of respondents did not know what coverage applies to a crash with another driver who does not have insurance.  The answer is: uninsured motorist coverage.

Just 35 percent of drivers knew damage to their vehicle may be covered by the at-fault driver’s liability coverage.

When asked about the purpose of car insurance, only 5.2 percent of respondents said the purpose was to pay their medical bills if they were injured in a crash.  Another 23 percent said their insurance would pay the other driver’s bills if they cause the other driver injury or property damage.

What Should You Know When Filing a Crash Claim?

It is important to know what your insurance covers and the limits of those coverages when filing a claim.  That way you know when the insurance company is being honest about whether damages are covered and whether your damages are less than or more than your coverage limits.

For example, as Minnesota is a no-fault state, you are required to have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to pay for your own medical and wage loss damages from the crash.  This coverage applies regardless of who is at fault.  You should know how much PIP coverage you have.  You should know if you have “stacked” PIP coverage.

Knowing what is in your policy is particularly important if your claim is complicated.  For example, claims involving at-fault drivers who do not have insurance, or do not have enough insurance, are often difficult.

The more complex the claim, the more important it is to hire an experienced lawyer to represent you.  He or she can review your policy and deal with the insurance company on your behalf.  Our goal is to recover maximum compensation and hold the insurance company to the terms of your policy.

Reviewing Your Insurance Policy

People often learn a lot about car insurance when they are shopping for a policy and when they pick one.  However, once they start paying premiums, they may not look at their policy again until they need to file a claim.  Even if they do look at it, they may not understand what is in it.

Remember, you can always call the insurance company to ask for more information about your insurance policy, even if you are not filing a claim.  You can even ask about the factors involved in setting rates and ways to save money on your policy.

If you want to increase your coverage, you will likely increase your premiums.  However, you can increase your deductible to help lower your premiums.  The deductible is the amount you are required to pay before your insurance coverage kicks in.  Deductibles can be for collision coverage or even the wage and medical coverages.  Some police even have “drop down” provision that give less coverage to your family if they are in the vehicle with you.  Agents do not always even know these exist.

TSR Injury Law is Here to Help. Call Today.

We have helped many car crash victims pursue compensation for medical expenses and other damages.  We have successfully recovered millions on their behalf and are ready to help you.

You can get answers to your legal questions and learn more about the services we provide in a free initial consultation.  If we validate your case and you hire one of our attorneys, we are prepared to guide you through the legal process.  This means dealing with the insurance company on your behalf and pursuing full compensation, up to the limits of the insurance policies involved.

TSR Injury Law. No Upfront Fees. Ph: (612) TSR-TIME.

Have Self-Driving Cars Become Safer Than Cars Driven by People?

inside a self-driving carIt may seem inevitable that cars driven by human beings will be phased out and replaced by self-driving vehicles.  How quickly will this happen?  That depends on many factors, particularly how safe self-driving cars are.

The goal with self-driving vehicles is to make them not just as safe as, but safer than cars driven by people.  Unfortunately, drivers are not that safe, as they are prone to distractions, drowsy driving, drunk driving, texting, speeding and other forms of negligence or recklessness.

Below, learn more about how safe self-driving cars have become, not just how well they sense and avoid hazards, but also the risks that still need to be addressed.

What Does the Research Say?

By 2018, self-driving cars had already gone through millions of miles of road tests.  These tests have shown there is great potential for self-driving vehicles to be safer than cars driven by human beings.

The idea behind these automated vehicles is that they are intended to avoid the mistakes and recklessness of human drivers, such as disobeying traffic laws, speeding or drifting out of a lane.  Some research has shown self-driving cars do a good job detecting other vehicles and obstacles.

However, self-driving vehicles often struggle to detect pedestrians.  Weather conditions also present added difficulty for safety.  Heavy rainfall, snowfall, ice and other inclement weather cause major problems with self-driving vehicle sensors.  It is fair to say that a self-driving car in Minnesota would not be as safe as one in Texas just based on weather.  Unfortunately, it can be easy to fool self-driving cars, possibly resulting in a dangerous crash.

Tesla Autopilot Accidents

While there are no fully autonomous vehicles on our nation’s roads, some Tesla models have an Autopilot feature that makes them semi-autonomous.  In some ways, semi-autonomous is even more dangerous than fully autonomous technology.  Driver’s get a false sense of security and do not pay attention.  Unfortunately, as of January 2020, there had been three fatal crashes involving Tesla vehicles with the Autopilot feature engaged.  For example, in March 2019, a Tesla Model 3 crashed into a truck towing a trailer and the roof of the car was sheared off.  Neither the driver nor the Autopilot took action to try to avoid the crash.

AAA Study

Many vehicle manufacturers besides Tesla have active driver assistance systems that manage acceleration, braking and steering.  A study recently released by AAA found these systems experienced some type of problem every eight miles, such as:

  • Trouble staying in the same lane (this accounted for about three-quarters of the errors)
  • Drifting too close to vehicles
  • Drifting too close to guardrails
  • Disengaging with little notice

Researchers studied 4,000 miles of real world driving to determine what the problems were. The vehicles included in the study were:

  • 2019 BMW X7 with Active Driving Assistant Professional
  • 2019 Cadillac CT6 with Super Cruise
  • 2019 Ford Edge with Ford Co-Pilot360
  • 2020 Kia Telluride with Highway Driving Assist
  • 2020 Subaru Outback with EyeSight Suite

Who can be Held Liable for a Self-Driving Car Crash?

As there are no fully autonomous vehicles on the road, the more relevant question is whether a vehicle manufacturer can be held liable for problems with features that assist drivers.  While each situation is unique, it may be difficult to hold a manufacturer liable, as drivers are still supposed to be paying attention, even while autonomous features are engaged.  One of the biggest issues with the current state of “self-driving” cars is that they do not actually self-drive.  Maybe they assist, but when the driver has a false sense of autonomy, the driver does not pay attention and crashes happen.  There are many videos of drivers sleeping or watching a movie in a “self-driving” car.  Until vehicles are 100 percent truly self-driving, the drivers need to pay attention as if there they were driving a regular vehicle.

If you were injured in a crash while autonomous features were engaged, you should strongly consider meeting with an experienced Bloomington car accident attorney to discuss legal options.  We know how to determine liability and whether you may have a valid claim.

Call Today to Schedule a Free Legal Consultation

If you or a loved one was injured in a car crash, you could greatly benefit from talking to a licensed attorney about your potential legal options.  The attorneys at TSR Injury Law have obtained millions in compensation on behalf of car crash victims.

The consultation with one of our licensed attorneys is completely free of charge, with no obligation for you to hire our firm.  If we find you have a valid case and you hire us to represent you, there are no upfront fees for our services.  We do not get paid unless you get paid.  That means there is no risk in contacting us to discuss your crash.

Have questions? Call (612) TSR-TIME today.