Many companies have been developing autonomous vehicles in the past few years. Kentucky motorists who are interested in this technology may want to know how the vehicles may impact product liability claims and crash investigations.

Self-driving vehicles provide a variety of safety advantages, such as being immune to distracted driving and intoxication. However, the software that is required to operate the vehicles is not immune to fatigue. Autonomous vehicles will affect who will be the targets of lawsuits and claims. Typically, when a vehicle accident occurs and claims and lawsuits are to be filed, there is a question of which potentially liable party has the most financial resources. With autonomous vehicles as a factor, it is uncertain how liability will be allocated.

There is expected to be a rise in product liability claims as the manufacturers and software developers may be most likely to have the deeper pockets. Targets of product liability claims may also include the subcontractors that created the autonomous vehicle's crash avoidance algorithm or that provided the sensors used on the vehicle.

Other issues that are likely to arise as the more common self-driving vehicles become include the issue of shared ownership and how adjusters are supposed to fairly apportion liability. Subrogation is expected to increase. There is also a concern regarding hacking and how it can result in a rise in auto theft claims. Hackers may be capable of disabling brakes or grounding a fleet of autonomous vehicles.

Until that day arrives, however, motor vehicle accidents will continue to occur, and the vast majority of them will be caused by human error. A person who is injured in a crash resulting from the negligence of another driver may want to have the help of a lawyer when seeking appropriate compensation.