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Published On: Wed, Apr 25th, 2018

Uber Self Driving Car Accident Victim Takes Settlement

Last month, a self-driving Uber car in Tempe, AZ made a grave mistake, colliding with and killing a cyclist riding alongside the road.

This is the first pedestrian fatality since Uber introduced their self-driving car mode of transportation.

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According to Law360, these automated vehicles call into question who is legally liable, since there is no human driver.

This could have repercussions not only in the legal industry, but the insurance industry as well.

Self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles will most likely see an increase in demand for insurance at the manufacturer or fleet manager level (Law360).

The Uber case was quickly settled between the family and the corporation. Therefore, we’re not entirely sure how the courts would decide in terms of autonomous vehicle accidents.

This is not uncommon, in fact, the majority of personal injury cases result in a settlement rather than a trial – 95%, according to Enjuris.com.

Alternatively, when cases do go to trial, forensic economists are consulted to give the best estimate of what the plaintiff is entitled to.

According to the National Association of Forensic Economists, professionals always take gender into consideration when calculating a potential settlement. Although, some professionals take race and gender into consideration.

This socio economic aspect is an important one in today’s society.

Minorities and women can be subject to unequal settlements. This is because of the ongoing issue of the wage gap in the United States, resulting in lower earnings for minorities and women.

Personal injury settlements attempt to put a number to emotional and physical damages. Since pain and suffering is subject to interpretation, personal injury compensation has few hard and fast rules.

One specific regulation to keep in the mind is the statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits. Twenty-four states have set the statute of limitations at two years for injury cases. Arkansas, along with 15 other states and the District of Columbia, set the statute of limitations at three years.

The majority of the remaining states set the statute at one or two years. North Dakota and Maine are at the other end of the spectrum, allowing civil lawsuits for injury up to six years later.

Typical personal injury lawsuits include car accidents, motorcycle accidents, wrongful death lawsuits, premises liability cases and commercial vehicle accidents.

One exception, according to Fayetteville, Arkansas personal injury lawyer Kenneth Kieklak of Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, involves the statute of limitations: injury as a result of medical malpractice.

Another exception that could potentially apply is if the injured party is below the age of 18. They may have more time to file a lawsuit due to their status as a minor.

Author: Adam Gingery

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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