If you have been injured in an accident involving a Waymo vehicle, contact us today for a free consultation and we will be happy to explain your legal options to you.
We’re up to speed on the latest, dramatic changes in motor vehicle technology and personal injury law in California, including autonomous vehicles.
What is Waymo?
Waymo stands for new way forward in mobility, and it has lapped the competition in the self-driving car race on miles driven, frequency of disengagement and when an actual human driver must override Waymo’s technology. So let’s get up to speed on what Waymo is, and what you should do if you’re involved in an accident with a Waymo vehicle in or around Los Angeles.
If you’d rather stop reading now, contact us today for a free consultation after any accident which resulted in an injury that involved a Waymo vehicle. We will listen to what happened and offer you advice which is in your best interest. We have been researching Waymo for quite some time.
It’s Not a Car Company. It’s a Tech Company.
Waymo was part of a project at Google involving self-driving cars. It spun out of Google as a limited liability company two years ago, and it was made a subsidiary of Alphabet which is Google’s parent company. Waymo owns thousands of self-driving cars, but its officers and directors actually consider it to be tech company. It works with auto manufacturers that integrate Waymo’s technology into their vehicles. When they look through their window into the future, they see fewer accidents, injuries and deaths involving fallible, human creatures who drink, become distracted, speed, fail to yield the right-of-way, fall asleep at the wheel or are otherwise careless and negligent. Waymo envisions fewer traffic jams and an incredibly safer future for people on or about the roadway. From its efforts, it expects to earn spectacular profits.
How Safe is Waymo Technology?
A motor vehicle that’s equipped with Waymo technology is incredibly safe in comparison to the wiring of a human brain and driver. By 2017, Waymo had operated more than two million miles on United States roadways. It recorded one single accident for which it was at fault, and that was a mere fender bender bender. In 14 other accidents, the vehicle equipped with Waymo was either rear-ended or under human control. The tech company’s fault rate is reportedly 10 times lower than the safest driver demographic which comprises drivers between the ages of 60 and 69. It was said to be 40 times safer than newly licensed human drivers.
Will Insurance Companies Crash?
Since more and more people will be using technology provided by Waymo and other similar companies, the insurance industry will be undergoing significant changes too. Its adjusters and defense lawyers will quickly need to come up to speed on autonomous vehicles and how they operate. Not only will insurers need to contemplate cyber attacks, failed or delayed updates, outages and software issues, they’ll still need to insure human beings when they take control of the vehicle. Risk from the human factor will be exponentially less though. That’s why insurance is expected to shift over from human liability to a focus on product liability, even in the event that a Waymo or similar system gets hacked. Will the consumer be paying for that? The answer to that question is no and yes. The burden and expense of liability coverage is expected to shift over onto the car and technology providers, but that cost is likely to be passed to consumers through the purchase price. With the number of human drivers on the road continually decreasing, that’s expected to lead to remarkably lower revenues for the insurance industry. At the moment, only about six percent of all car insurance are preparing for this eventuality.
Your Insurance Responsibilities
Remember that every state has its own mandatory liability insurance laws. You’re likely to be required to pay for some type of liability coverage, but expect it to be drastically reduced. After all, how often is a driver going to be taking actual physical control of an autonomous vehicle? For states that have mandatory uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance requirements, somebody is going to have to pay for that too. If it’s not going to be the consumer, expect the drastically decreased cost of that to be passed over to him or her through the vehicle’s price too.
Insurance Models Are in Place
Unfortunately, state legislatures are the tortoises that can lag behind a significant tech issue for years. Expect great resistance to autonomous vehicle coverage from the insurance industry too. California, Nevada and Arizona will be giving Waymo and its competitors close attention. Thousands of Waymo vehicles are already on their roads. If the other 47 states are following autonomous vehicle insurance, statutory models will be in place for them to work off of.
Contact a Los Angeles Waymo Car Accident Lawyer
Many lawyers in the Los Angeles area aren’t going to be prepared for the overwhelming change that’s just around the corner either, but the fundamental rules of what to do immediately after an accident with a Waymo vehicle are substantially the same. Call police to the scene to investigate the accident. If you or anybody else is injured, ask for an ambulance to be dispatched to the scene, and get transported to the nearest emergency room. As soon as possible after that, contact us.