Texas authorities are scrambling to uncover what led up to a fiery crash involving an autonomous vehicle that killed two people. It took first responders a full four hours to extinguish the fire, and some reports claim there was nobody in the driver’s seat when the Tesla crashed into a tree and burst into flames.
Firefighters used 30,000 gallons of water to fully extinguish the raging fire. The car battery is thought to have ignited repeatedly, making the blaze nearly impossible to put out. Local law enforcement insists there was no one in the driver’s seat at the time of the wreck, yet Tesla CEO Elon Musk is refuting those reports, stating there is no way to be one hundred percent certain that there was no backup driver in the vehicle. since there are no survivors or witnesses to interview.
The allegedly driverless car was apparently speeding and neglected to take a turn before driving off the road and crashing into a tree. One of the victims was in front of the passenger seat, while the other was in the back, according to Constable Mark Herman of Harris County Precinct 4. Investigators are still trying to unravel whether or not the autopilot driver assistance program was engaged.
Musk claims the recovered data logs provide evidence that appears to suggest autopilot was not being used when the accident occurred. In addition, Musk says the owner of the vehicle did not buy the company’s full self-driving option that allows the use of autopilot on local roads.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there have been at least 23 crashes attributed to autopilot technology that is currently under investigation. However, this may well be the very first fatal crash without a human being present as a backup driver in the driver’s seat.
Autopilot technology requires the driver to pay constant attention to the road even when it is engaged. Even so, it remains to be seen if the families of the victims will retain a wrongful death attorney and take Tesla or one of the component manufacturers to court. Laws surrounding self-driving cars are still evolving.
How to determine a personal injury settlement will likely take center stage, as all eyes are on Elon Musk and lawyers examine the evidence. These law professionals are there to help when a loved one is lost in a car accident, regardless of the type of car crash, driverless or not. While autonomous technology certainly presents a unique hurdle to proving negligence, many wrongful death lawsuits are fairly cut and dry.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
It is extremely difficult to mourn the death of a loved one. Family and spouses of the deceased have every right to seek maximum compensation in a court of law. Car accidents are still a leading cause of wrongful death, and families are devastated as income is lost and recovery is difficult for everyone involved.
A good lawyer will help you handle the financial aspects of the accident. Survivors are often compensated for:
- Medical expenses prior to the victim’s death
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of future income for deceased survivors
- Damages for pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
While it is small consolation to receive a settlement when you’re grieving a loss, a compassionate lawyer will work toward an agreement to ease the financial burden. In the case of driverless cars, recent cases will set a precedent for future rulings and further define existing laws.