Who is Liable for an Autonomous Truck Accident in Maryland?

Throughout the country, truck companies are increasingly exploring the use of autonomous trucks in order to increase profits and decrease reliance on drivers. As a result, autonomous truck accidents in Maryland will likely become more common as a greater number of these vehicles hit the road. As autonomous truck accidents in Maryland increase, the fault of drivers in such accidents will also begin to evolve. The addition of autonomous driving software to trucks fundamentally changes the role and concept of the driver. While autonomous trucks currently often have safety drivers, people in the cab monitoring the artificial intelligence driving the truck autonomously, leading autonomous truck development companies have increasingly used completely driverless trucks on the roads. In December of 2021, a truck completed an 80-mile trip in Arizona on public roads.

Given the increasing risk of being involved in an autonomous truck accident, drivers should be aware that this could fundamentally impact how fault is determined in Maryland truck accidents. Currently, Maryland uses contributory negligence in truck accident cases, which can dramatically impact a victim’s recovery if they are at fault. The introduction of autonomous trucks to the road may change that process. A recent news article discussed an autonomous truck accident that occurred in April 2022.

According to the news article, the accident occurred when an autonomous truck suddenly veered left, cutting across the I-10 highway and smashing into a concrete barricade. At the time, there was a driver and an engineer on board, and the company blamed human error. However, regulatory disclosures and internal documents reveal that there may have been issues with the autonomous software operating the vehicle at the time. An internal report on the incident, states that the truck veered suddenly because the person operating the vehicle did not properly reboot the system before engaging the autonomous driving function, causing it to execute an outdated command. In this case, the truck engaged in a left-turn command that had been made 2 ½ minutes prior, resulting in the accident.

How Could Autonomous Truck Technology Impact My Case?

In Maryland, contributory negligence is deployed in personal injury cases when it comes to calculating damages for victims. Contributory negligence is a legal concept preventing victims in an accident from receiving recovery for their personal injuries if their negligence contributed to the accident at all. Even if the negligence of the operator of another vehicle is largely responsible for the motor vehicle accident, if the victim was even slightly negligent, it is possible they will not be able to recover any compensation. Autonomous driving technology complicates the application of this process, as autonomous driving systems increasingly reduce the role of drivers on both sides of accidents. Subsequently, as the role of drivers decreases, shifting into more of a passive passenger role, victims in Maryland are more likely to be able to recover compensation, as they are less likely to be found responsible for fault in an accident.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Maryland Truck Accident?

If you or someone you love has been injured or died in a Maryland truck accident, let the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen help you recover the damages you deserve. Expenses and injuries from a motor vehicle accident can quickly become overwhelming, and having an experienced team of lawyers by your side can make all the difference. Our attorneys have successfully represented injury victims at every stage of the process, ensuring that they obtain the proper damages. With our team, you can have faith that your claim is being pursued properly. If you have questions about your case, call us today at 800-654-1949 and schedule a free and no-obligation initial consultation with a Maryland injury lawyer at our office.

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