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Will automation lead to safer roads or product liability claims?

As automakers continue to explore autonomous driving features in car designs, consumers may wonder whether these new features will improve safety.  Although computerized systems have the potential to perform consistently, an attorney that focuses on product liability work knows that products continue to injure American consumers each year.

The defect is not always in a product's design. Sometimes products may cause injury due to a manufacturing defect. Other times, a product may have been inappropriately marketed, leading consumers to believe that a product could perform beyond its actual capabilities.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission does monitor faulty products. It also administers and enforces various federal safety regulations, laws and standards.  However, the process can also be reactive, depending in part on consumer reports. For example, a product that otherwise complies with existing regulations might be subject to a recall only after enough consumers have reported injuries from a specific product.

The CPSC estimates the cost of dangerous or defective consumer products to be about $1 trillion each year in the United States, comprising deaths, injuries or property damage. Although the human element may contribute to negligence behind the wheel, a malfunctioning autonomous driving feature may lead to the same result. 

The truth is that products can be defective or dangerous even if they are not subject to an official recall. For a consumer injured in this fashion, we recommend a consultation with a product liability lawyer. Our lawyers focus on many aspects of personal injury law, including product liability and wrongful death. We can help an injured consumer bring a lawsuit against a manufacturer or responsible company. A strong advocate may be needed, as a company may attempt to shift blame by suggesting that a consumer failed to use a product according to its specifications.

Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, "About CPSC"

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