Driverless Cars – Changes to Personal Injury Law?

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  • Self-driving cars are a recent technological creation that is expected to transform the public’s way of living and redefine various industries, including the practice of personal injury law.

    Thousands of people are injured in motor vehicle accidents every year[1], in most of which, liability is accredited to human error. New research studies suggest that self-driving cars will reduce traffic accidents by 90% through limiting the human error factor, thus saving lives and decreasing the amount of personal injury claims in North America[2].

    These studies, however, cannot fully account for technological errors, including software problems which can lead to car mishandling or computer hacking. Such threats call into question the driverless cars’ safety and raise issues with assigning liability for accidents. With the expected increase of driverless cars in the near future and the inevitability of both human and technological error, personal injury lawsuits will likely involve a growing number of car manufacturers and software companies as defendants.

    Ontario is currently in the process of conducting the first automated vehicle pilot program in Canada, which is expected to run for at least 10 years[3]. While law firms are encouraged to start thinking about the possible future shifts in the practice of personal injury and insurance law, we likely will not see any major industry changes for some time.

    If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call the Jasmine Daya & Co. team at 416-967-9100 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.




    [1] Preliminary 2016 Ontario Road Safety Annual Report Statistics, Road Safety Research Office Ministry of Transportation (2016).

    [2] McKingsey & Company, “Automotive Revolution perspective towards 2030”, Advanced Industries (January 2016).

    [3] Report of the PPSC Working Group on Connected and Automated Vehicles, “The Future of Automated Vehicles in Canada” (January 29, 2018), p.11.