Google “Self-Driving” Car Involved in First Injury Causing Crash

08/27/2015 // 1-800 Car Wreck // (press release)

Recently, Google’s famous self-driving car prototypes made headlines after one became involved in an injury causing wreck: a first reported for the company. The collision occurred after the Lexus SUV was reportedly self-maneuvering between traffic with the assistance of cameras and sensors and rear-ended by another vehicle.

Source: AP Report “Google self-driving car involved in first injury accident”

“LOS ANGELES (AP) — Google Inc. revealed Thursday that one of its self-driving car prototypes was involved in an injury accident for the first time…In the collision, a Lexus SUV that the tech giant outfitted with sensors and cameras was rear-ended in Google's home city of Mountain View, where more than 20 prototypes have been self-maneuvering through traffic.”

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There were three Google employees in the self-driven vehicle, who all complained of minor whiplash and the person in the other vehicle also reportedly complained of back and neck pain.

The recent crash has raised questions about liability when it comes to personal injury claims over accidents involving self-driven vehicles, if and when they are approved for use nationwide. Although these cars are primarily in the testing stage, and only seen in select areas so far, Google has expressed that the technology will one day be a safer and more efficient alternative to human drivers and potentially used widespread. The company has even expanded testing areas to outside of California.

The prototype was recently approved for testing in Texas, with one of the technology outfitted vehicles being released on the streets of Austin.

Source: Texas Tribune Report “Google Testing Self-Driving Vehicles in Austin”

“After years of experimenting with its groundbreaking autonomous vehicle technology almost exclusively in California, Google confirmed Monday that it has begun testing one of its self-driving vehicles in Austin… A white Lexus RX 450h SUV outfitted with the company’s sensors and software began making trips without the aid of a driver in the city within the past week, said Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations for the Google self-driving car project. Another vehicle will join it in the area for testing this week.”

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Texas based personal injury attorney Amy Witherite of the Eberstein Witherite LLP law firm says that in the event self-driving vehicles do become widespread for use there may be unique challenges for personal injury victims involved in related accidents regarding damage claims, but “as with any car crash injury, victims can seek compensation for accidents for which they are not at fault.” Compensation traffic accident victims may be eligible to pursue includes that for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost income, property destruction, and other damages.

Witherite further says that in the state of Texas “there aren’t enough of these vehicles on the roads for there to be cause for alarm, but the topic is interesting to consider as Google progresses the technology. We’ll see in the long run just how safe these vehicles turn out to be if they are one day widely used.”

Google has high hopes that these vehicles will contribute to a reduction in crashes caused by human error worldwide. The company says on its website “Deaths from traffic accidents—over 1.2 million worldwide every year—could be reduced dramatically, especially since 94% of accidents in the U.S. involve human error.”

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