Autonomous Vehicles Accidents and Legal Ramifications in Florida

Last week I wrote about accidents caused by apps with augmented reality features. As a Miami injury attorney I relayed the dangers these apps can cause by distracting drivers from their environment. I also touched on the issue of autonomous vehicles, but did not really expand the issue. There are interesting and concerning liability issues concerning autonomous vehicles.

It should be mentioned that autonomous mechanisms also have a tremendous impact on society, as well. I want to note though, that I am in no way criticizing advance, but rather just making observations. It should be noted that jobs that include driving employ a tremendous amount of the male population in the U.S. and around the world. In fact, some companies have already developed the technology to turn trucks into automated vehicles.

In recent years we hear how immigrants are taking away jobs, but these critics fail to see that most jobs have disappeared due to the advent of automation. The immigrant issue seems to be a well organized distraction. For example, a simple AI (artificial intelligence) can answer thousands of calls a day. These phone center jobs use to be a very import source of employment. It goes without saying that automation also reduced the need for many positions on factory floors and this number is increasing because of the evolution of robotics.

Last week I mentioned an accident involving a Tesla vehicle. The accident itself brings to mind questions or responsibility and liability. However, what is really surprising is that Tesla vehicles have driven millions of miles without incident. No doubt, these automated systems are safer than human drivers. As an attorney in South Florida, this brings to mind questions pertaining to insurance coverage. How will the Florida Legislature and Insurance companies react to this new technology?

One theory is that liability will remain with the developers of the autonomous technology and the car makers themselves. This may decrease the insurance premiums and ultimately shift responsibility from the owner of the vehicle to the developer. In which case, insurance companies would only have a few clients and probably fewer claims on an unprecedented scale. In other words, insurance companies would be tremendously scaled down. Again, this would mean that many people in U.S. would be out of a job.

There is also the possibility that State Legislatures may still obligate individual car owners to carry their own coverage. This would be under the theory that the owner of the vehicle should always remain wary of a failing autonomous system. Insurance carriers would then remain viable, but would probably exist in a skeletal state. Although their revenue intake may be lower (due to lower premiums), there is a change that their profit margins may be higher and more predictable. This however, would not mean more jobs.

All this sudden change may be dramatic and overwhelming and have unintended effects on multiple industries and society as whole. Nonetheless, these technologies will have one very important positive effect. Autonomous vehicles will lead to an unparalleled reduction of accidents.

To reduce the societal impact our Governments, both State and Federal, should take action to assist in any transition. We have often argued that a Government should not react to new technology, but rather predict and act upon their emergence to dull the effects of an environment that tends to change on ever increasing scale.

We are injury lawyers in South Florida. Please do not hesitate to contact us at 1.888.413.8353.