How Tech Startups are Impacting Personal Injury Law
Everyone raves about how technology and tech startups are changing the face of the world as we know it today. We are now talking about drones, artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous cars, artificial intelligence, smart homes, the Internet of Things, e-cigarettes, hover-boards and other technological innovations as a matter of course.
Today, with the advances in technology, you have almost any kind of information available at the click of a button on your smartphone, you can create gourmet meals with stunningly hi-tech gadgets and you can turn your entire living space into a smart home.
Dangerous New Technology
Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, right? But what if some of this technology was also dangerous to us? Here are some key examples:
– Self-Driving Cars
Autonomous or self-driving cars are being touted as the next stage of vehicular evolution. We’ve seen in Sci-Fi movies, and now it is becoming a reality. Companies such as Tesla, Uber, Google, and many of the auto majors are in a race to develop the perfect self-driving vehicle.
Tesla’s cars and SUV already have a self-driving option, and Google’s self-driving cars called Waymo are already driving in 4 different cities across the United States.
The problem is that there have been multiple cases of self-driving cars crashing and killing their passengers.
– Exploding Gadgets
Hover-boards are another big innovation that has become really popular. However, in 2015, these fun products turned dangerous and caught on fire because of defective batteries. While most of the fires were minor, one hover-board catching fire in March of 2017 led to an entire house being burned down, leading to the death of two young children.
Samsung also faced a huge issue when its top-of-the-line Galaxy Note 7 smartphone was catching fire. Some of the injuries sustained by the phone users were severe – 3rd degree burns, requiring the victims to undergo extensive skin grafts, surgeries as well as physical therapy.
– Traffic Risks
Drone sales are up massively, with people using them for recreation. The challenge is that these drones are being controlled by amateurs, who maneuver their little flying drones through the air, leading to dangerously close misses with people, objects and even airplanes.
In fact, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) receives over 100 complaints every month. Reports of drones crashing into people’s backyards and even on the White House Grounds. There have been reports of these devices also crashing into high-voltage power lines. These drones have led to many people getting injured.
Liability in Case of Injury by Technology
The question that now arises is who is to take responsibility if a person is injured due to technology? If a person is hit by a self-driving car, or a malfunctioning drone, or even an exploding smartphone, then who is to be blamed?
The obvious answer is the manufacturer, right? Wrong. According to accident injury attorneys, the answer is not so simple. For example, after the recent crashes of autonomous cars, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration contacted Google, asking the company who would be responsible in case a person died due to a self-driving car crash.
Google stated that if a person died in such circumstances, then the car was the driver, and so was to blame for the accident. This raises a legal conundrum, as many experts state that this then becomes a product liability rather than an accident injury issue.
Such conflict in interpretations could also impact how insurance companies design their policies.
At the end of the day, the legal landscape is going to have to change to keep up with the fact that technology is becoming more independent and intelligent.