There are many factors that increase the likelihood of a car collision. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, texting, speeding, and engaging in other negligent behaviors behind the wheel can lead to an accident. In recent months, automakers have reported that automated driver-assist systems have contributed to nearly 400 vehicle crashes between July 2021 and May 2022. While many of these crashes are under investigation, it’s helpful to recognize that certain autopilot features may fail to function properly and lead to an incident. If you’ve suffered an auto accident injury involving an automated system, the process of recovering compensation to help cover the associated medical costs, lost wages, and other unanticipated expenses may seem confusing. Below is a brief overview of what’s behind these recent reports and some steps you can take to recover the compensation you need to support your recovery.
Uptick in Automated Driver-Assist Systems-Related Collisions
In June 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ordered over 100 automakers and automated vehicle technology companies to report serious collisions no later than one day after learning about them. The NHTSA also mandated that these companies report less serious crashes by the 15th day of the following month. Since then, 273 of the reported collisions involved Tesla vehicles, 90 involved Hondas, ten involved Subarus, and other automakers reported five incidents or fewer. The NHTSA reported that six people suffered severe injuries, while five people were killed in driver-assisted systems-related collisions. Most of these collisions involved Tesla’s Autopilot feature, which the manufacturer insists is not a self-driving feature. Several of these crashes involved drivers who engaged the Autopilot feature and engaged in distracting behaviors instead of focusing on the road.
Determining Fault in California Auto Accidents
The aftermath of a car collision can be chaotic and stressful. Determining which party is at fault can be complicated when the incident involves an automated vehicle or system. If you suffered an injury, you’re likely wondering how to pursue compensation to support the costs associated with your medical treatment and physical recovery. For the most part, you can still pursue a claim against the driver of the autonomous vehicle, as their presence behind the wheel renders them responsible for controlling the car. In some cases, the vehicle’s manufacturer could be held liable for the accident, especially if you can show that the system malfunctioned in some way. Under California’s comparative fault laws, multiple parties may share responsibility for the accident—even the victim. If the investigation finds that you were 10 percent to blame for the accident, you may still recover 90 percent of the compensation awarded to you.
Preparing a Successful Auto Accident Claim
The last thing that a car accident victim wants to think about is engaging in lengthy and stressful negotiations with the auto insurance company. These communications can be frustrating, especially since insurance adjusters try to pay you as little as possible to save their companies money. Even if an insurance adjuster contacts you and claims to be “on your side,” approach this conversation with caution and skepticism. Do not admit to any fault; refer them to your personal injury attorney instead. Although some auto accident victims in Riverside County decide to navigate this process on their own, enlisting the guidance of a trusted and experienced Temecula attorney is the best way to maximize your settlement offer. Together, you and your attorney will prepare the strongest claim possible to help you recover the compensation you need to support your physical recovery. Below are a few important factors that can strengthen your claim.
In order to estimate how much compensation you need to support your recovery, you’ll need to use the receipts, bills, and other documents that indicate the financial burden of your accident-related injuries. Your attorney will help you gather medical bills, physical therapy invoices, prescription medication receipts, and other paperwork to illustrate the financial toll the accident has taken on you. Medical evaluations are also critical in demonstrating how seriously you took your injuries. Police reports, witness statements, and photographs of the scene can also be used to bolster your claim.
Filing a Claim On Time
Auto accidents can wreak havoc on your life. Understandably, your physical, mental, and emotional recovery may prevent you from taking legal action immediately following the accident. However, the statute of limitations for initiating a personal injury lawsuit in California is two years from the date of the accident or injury. You must file your claim within this two-year window or forfeit your right to pursue compensation.
How a Murrieta Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you need help collecting the compensation you need to support your physical and economic recovery after an auto accident, reach out to a trusted attorney as soon as possible. Not only will your lawyer help you identify the most strategic path toward achieving your goals, but they will answer your questions, address your concerns, and give you the clarity and confidence to weather this stressful situation. Together, you can negotiate a fair and favorable settlement offer and move forward into a brighter future.
Call Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation, today at (951) 489-3320 to discuss your goals with a dedicated Temecula auto accident attorney.