Free Consultation 24/7
Current Clients Call 516-227-2662


Human error was to blame for an injury accident involving a fleet of Google's self-drivingLexus sedans in July 2015, according to Chris Urmson, head of the Google program. The crash occurred at an intersection near the company's Mountain View, CA headquarters. The light was green, but since the Google cars had detected they could not cross without blocking the intersection, they remained in place. An apparently inattentive human driver read the green signal, but did not observe the stopped cars, and rear-ended the last vehicle in line.

Bad for the injured driver, but perhaps good for Google, which now has one more piece of data to highlight the human role in traffic accidents its program is attempting to combat. Urmson boasts, "Other drivers have hit us 14 times since the start of our project in 2009 (including 11 rear-enders), and not once has the self-driving car been the cause of the collision. Instead, the clear theme is human error and inattention."

Still, before these experimental cars can be released into the public, the questions must be asked, "Who would be liable for an accident caused by a self-driving car?" Probably, parties would not litigate such accidents as a regular negligence claim - the more likely theory is products liability, since the culprit would most likely be a defect in the car's computer programming. Potential defendants include:

  • Software designers - The software company would be strictly liable for any defect in the software that prompts the car to make an unsafe maneuver.
  • Manufacturers - Whoever installs the software or builds the interface would be strictly liable for any defects they introduce through their process.

Of course, anyone who owns a computer knows that software must be frequently updated. An owner of a self-driving car who failed to maintain the car promptly could still be liable under a negligence standard.

Until self-driving cars are widely available, our greatest threat on the road will still be inattentive human drivers. If one of them causes an accident, injuring you, take advantage of a free consultation with Rubin & Licatesi, P.C. To schedule an appointment, call us at 516-227-2662 or contact our Brooklyn office online.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact Us

Rubin & Licatesi, P.C.

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Rubin & Licatesi, P.C.
591 Stewart Avenue 4th Floor
Garden City, NY 11530

Phone: 516-712-2969
Fax: 516-227-3374
Map & Directions

Brooklyn Office
3857 Kings Highway Suite 1F
Brooklyn, NY 11234

Phone: 516-712-2969
Phone: 718-712-6864
Map & Directions

Bronx Office
3585 East Tremont Avenue
Bronx, NY 10465

Phone: 718-710-4880
Map & Directions

Current Clients: 516-712-2969