Will Automated Cars Change the Personal Injury Practice?
A growing number of car companies are providing automated driving and safety features in their new vehicles to help avoid/prevent accidents, including collision avoidance features such as electronic blind-spot monitoring, automated braking, and lane-keeping systems.
It appears that automated driving and safety technologies (which are currently filtering their way into the car market) are going to permeate the car population before self-driving cars.
As these automated driving and safety technologies continue to deploy into the driving population, the way in which accident claims are handled by attorneys, insurance companies and the courts will inevitably change. Arguably, these new automotive advances should result in fewer car accidents and resulting injuries and deaths. However, there could be a countervailing force: that human beings, in relying on these features, will feel they can be distracted without risk. For example, “I was texting because my car had auto-stop and I just assumed that it would stop the car if there was a problem. I only looked away for a moment – it should have worked.” Only time will tell how this shakes-out.
However, it does seem that a fair inference can be made that over the next 5-10 years there will be a notable decrease in the number of personal injury cases coming from car accidents, and as such, a likely alteration to the personal injury practice and the auto insurance markets. And with respect to the auto insurance market, it would seem that significant rate decrease would be natural.