The reality of autonomous vehicles dominating the roads is not far off. Walmart, one of the largest companies in the world, recently shared its plan to test self-driving cars in multiple cities. General Motors announced just this month it will sell autonomous vehicles to consumers by the middle of the decade. And TuSimple, an autonomous trucking startup, successfully completed its first autonomous truck run on open public roads just before New Year’s.

As even more companies continue to develop autonomous vehicle technology, many speculate how its implementation will change our world. Here at AnSR, we are already considering the ramifications of autonomous vehicles in tort claims.

We anticipate claims shifting from focusing on the negligence of the individual driver to another entity, such as the manufacturer, software developer, or company. To whom — or what — blame will be assigned will be an interesting challenge for the future, especially when an accident’s cause may be difficult to determine. Was there an error in the software code? Perhaps it was due to a manufacturing defect? These questions will be untangled on a case-by-case basis, establishing precedents that we cannot predict.

An upside to self-driving cars and trucks is the ability to easily prove negligence through dashboard cameras. Data from the cameras and sensors will be invaluable during the claims process, offering an unbiased account of the accident — unlike personal statements taken at crash scenes. Claims processors will have an easier time determining who is at fault for the damage.

The future of driving is autonomous vehicles. As our world continues to inch closer to integrating this technology into daily life, rest assured AnSR is looking ahead to anticipate how these changes will affect you and your company. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to AnSR today.