California is the headquarters of Google, which has been one of the pioneers in the development of self-driving cars. Many observers believe that autonomous vehicles will become ubiquitous on the nation's roadways in the future; although, much work remains to be done on certain aspects of the technology. One corollary aspect that has been discussed is the impact that these vehicles could have on auto insurance claims and motor vehicle accident lawsuits.
It is fairly standard that when a driver who is impaired, distracted by a cellphone or otherwise negligent causes a car crash, people who have been injured will likely file a claim with the at-fault motorist's insurer. The question has been posed as to who should be held financially responsible in the event that an autonomous car is in a collision as is likely to eventually be the case.
Some observers believe that there will be an increase in product liability claims, especially because the manufacturers and developers have relatively deep pockets. Another area that could be impacted is an increase in auto theft claims. Hackers might be able to take over an autonomous car far more readily than the usual hot-wiring type of theft.
As it stands now, the vast majority of auto accidents are the result of human behavior. An individual injured in a collision caused by another motorist will often need extensive medical care and treatment. In many cases, the victim will lose wages due to an inability to go back to work during the recovery period. In such a case, a personal injury attorney could help pursue compensation from the at-fault driver.