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Driverless Cars: A New Future in Personal Injury Litigation?

How many times have I sat in rush hour traffic dreaming about the ability to flick the switch to autopilot while I hop in the back seat for a nap on the ride home! While this may seem a bit far-flung, at this very moment, the reality is automated vehicles, or driverless cars, are NOT too far in the offing.

Technology is making leaps and bounds in this area. Seems to me it was only a short few years ago when you started seeing advertisements for “self-parking” cars. Today, the technology is already available, and being tested, for semi or fully automated cars. Beginning on January 1, 2016, the government of Ontario began a new pilot program for testing automated vehicles on Ontario’s roads.

The government of Ontario announced that part of the rationale for the pilot project is to help in the development of “… made in Ontario technology” and to help enhance road safety.1 But, does that mean accident-free cars? I am certainly skeptical about that. In fact, many people will recall the death of a man in Florida, in June 2016, who was a “driver” in an automated Tesla Model S, with the autopilot engaged. Indeed, there is a lawsuit pending2, which I’ll be happy to write about as more information becomes available.

Who is responsible for the death or injury of another person driving an automated vehicle? Traditionally, determining liability is usually fairly straightforward. You sue the driver and owner of the vehicle that caused the accident. But, what happens when there is no “driver”?

Certainly seems like there may be some interesting times ahead in the motor vehicle accident world. I for one will be watching anxiously to see how our legal world unfolds as the interesting, and even exciting, new technology evolves.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, our Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience helping clients in Ottawa with injuries arising from any manner of motorized vehicular accident, including but not limited to: cars, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, and boats.

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