Self-Driving Vehicle Accidents

Self-Driving Vehicle Accident Lawyers in New Jersey

Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers provides aggressive representation when automated cars cause injury and wrongful death

For more than a decade, technology companies have promised to make our roadways safer by automating vehicles. In theory, cars guided by computers would be safer, because computers aren’t distracted, don’t consume drugs or alcohol, and never tire. They don’t suffer from road rage or take unreasonable risks. Remove humans from the process, we’ve been told, and you remove human error, which is by far the leading cause of traffic accidents. However, in some cases, instead of enhancing safety as promised, self-driving cars have created unreasonable risks, especially in those communities being used as testing grounds, as tech companies race to establish themselves as leaders in the market. Moreover, as numerous deadly crashes over the last few years have shown, the new technology complicates the question of liability for injuries and wrongful death.

Multiple companies have invested millions of dollars in self-driving vehicles and the technology website TechCrunch reported in June 2019 that there are now over 80 companies testing more than 1,400 self-driving vehicles on American roads.

At Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers, our car accident attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in personal injury and wrongful death accident cases. But we’re not resting on our laurels: we’re adapting to the new legal implications of self-driving vehicles to better assist accident victims. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with an autonomous vehicle, you can rely on our knowledge and our determination as we fight to recover the compensation you deserve.

Do I Need A Self-Driving Vehicle Accident Lawyer?

When a motor vehicle accident involves a self-driving car, there are going to be a lot of questions about exactly who or what was at fault. An attorney is going to be immensely helpful in helping you get answers because as soon as you hire one, they will commence their own independent investigation into your crash to determine the actual cause.

More importantly, a lawyer is also going to be able to identify all liable parties, and some cases could involve both drivers and vehicle manufacturers bearing some responsibility. The insurance companies for these parties will often try to contact victims soon after their accidents and quickly resolve the cases through lump-sum settlements, but you should remember that most settlement offers are dramatically less than what people are actually entitled to.

Even when a representative for an insurance company pledges to fully support you for all medical bills and lost wages, know that an insurer is never on your side. All insurance companies are motivated only to protect their bottom lines, usually by resolving these cases for as little as possible.

When you hire an attorney, they are motivated only to protect the best interests of their clients as though they were their own. This will mean that you will have a legal advocate committed only to helping you receive a truly fair and full settlement for your injuries, or filing a lawsuit to seek damages when a settlement is not possible.

Why Choose Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers To Handle My Self-Driving Vehicle Accident Case?

Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers has decades of experience with personal injury litigation. We were ranked a Top 40 Law Firm by the New Jersey Law Journal.

Edward P. Capozzi is a member of both the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Between 2012 and 2018, he secured at least one (and as many as three) of the state’s top 20 verdicts or settlements each year.

Keith J. Roberts is a member of the New Jersey chapter of the American Trial Lawyers Association, the Healthcare Compliance Association, the Health and Hospital Law Section of the New Jersey Bar Association, and the Bergen County Bar Association. He is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a civil trial attorney.

Charles X. Gormally has also been certified as a civil trial attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. He has been licensed in New Jersey since 1979 and New York since 1990 and is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association and American Bar Association.

Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers also will not charge you anything to handle your case unless you obtain a monetary award. We provide representation on a contingency fee basis, so you will pay nothing upfront.

What exactly is a self-driving car?

The term self-driving is a bit of a misnomer, but refers to the automated assistance a computer within the vehicle gives to the driver. Tech companies divide self-driving technology into five categories or levels as follows:

  • Level 0 — A standard automobile with no self-driving technology
  • Level 1 — With “driver assistance technology,” the car performs a few steering or acceleration tasks without human intervention. These include Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Parking Assistance with automated steering, and Lane Keeping Assistance (LKA). All other driving tasks are under human control and a human driver must be actively engaged at all times.
  • Level 2 — The “partially automated” system executes accelerating, braking, and steering, but the driver must detect objects, obstructions, or traffic events and respond if the automated system does not. The automated system stands down when the driver takes over.
  • Level 3 — With “conditional automation,” the driver allows the vehicle to perform limited “safety-critical functions” under certain traffic or environmental conditions, such as the freeway, This level still requires a driver, but the fact that a driver can defer some but not all major tasks to the vehicle raises the danger of the human driver being disengaged at a critical moment.
  • Level 4 — At this level of “high automation,” a human driver is not required unless there is uncertain terrain or severe weather. The driver’s most important responsibility is to determine correctly whether the environment is safe for fully automated control.
  • Level 5 — At this level of “full automation,” the vehicle is under computer control in all conditions. A vehicle occupant needs only to choose the destination and initiate the system.

When an accident occurs, the level of self-driving technology in use becomes an issue. The tech company may claim the driver was responsible in the moments preceding the crash, and the driver will attempt to shift blame to the tech company.

It’s All About Results

It’s All About Results

We are the trial attorneys with the experience and knowledge to get you the results you deserve. At Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers, we take time to get to know you, as well as your case. We are committed to excellence. It is important for our team to understand your fears, concerns and expectations. We are always available to answer any questions, and are willing to come to you if you are unable to come to us.

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Fatal crashes linked to self-driving automation

A number of high-profile fatal crashes of automated vehicles have occurred over the past few years, with some notable examples including:

  • A Tesla Model S operating at Level 2 in China in January 2016 crashed, fatally injuring the driver
  • A Tesla Model S operating at Level 2 in Williston, Florida in May 2016 crashed, fatally injuring the driver
  • A Tesla Model X operating at Level 2 in Mountain View, California in March 2018 crashed, fatally injuring the driver
  • An Uber-automated Volvo operating at Level 3 in Tempe, AZ in March 2018 struck and killed a pedestrian
  • A Tesla Model 3 operating at Level 2 in Delray Beach, Florida in March 2019 crashed, fatally injuring the driver
  • A Tesla Model S operating at Level 2 in Miami, Florida in April 2019 crashed, fatally injuring a pedestrian

Self-driving vehicle accidents can be incredibly complicated because of the different liable parties that may be involved. People injured because of accidents caused by self-driving vehicles could be occupants within those vehicles or occupants of other automobiles involved in the crashes.

In many cases, a driver can still be liable for a self-driving vehicle accident. Even when self-driving vehicles had some control over movement, the driver often had the ability to override those controls and may have been the party responsible for making a decision that caused an accident.

In several other cases, the issue could be with the self-driving technology itself. The automobile manufacturer could then be liable for damages in these cases.

It is also possible that other third parties could also be considered negligent. For example, a maintenance company may be liable for improperly caring for a self-driving system.

Self-Driving Vehicle Accident Statistics

In August 2018, Axios reported that a review of autonomous vehicle accidents in California between 2014 and 2018 showed that the autonomous vehicle was at fault for only one of 38  autonomous vehicle accidents involving moving autonomous vehicles in autonomous mode. Humans were also the cause of all 24 autonomous vehicle accidents in which the autonomous vehicle was stopped in autonomous mode.

When an autonomous vehicle was moving but in conventional mode, the autonomous vehicle was at fault for six of the 19 accidents. When the autonomous vehicle was stopped in conventional mode, the human was responsible for all seven accidents.

In terms of which company has seen the most crashes, Business Insider reported in November 2018 that tech news and review site Tech.co used California Department of Motor Vehicle data to quantify and locate each individual self-driving car crash in the state as well as which company’s vehicles were involved. The study found that there were two crashes involving 3 percent of the Apple fleet, one crash involving 10 percent of the Drive.ai fleet, one crash involving 10 percent of the Toyota fleet, five crashes involving 20 percent of the Zoox fleet, 52 crashes involving 30 percent of the General Motors Cruise fleet, and 36 crashes involving 41 percent of the Waymo fleet.

Theories of liability for self-driving car crashes

If you are injured in an accident with a self-driving car, you have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that someone else caused the accident. If the automated car is the cause, the question then becomes, who failed to perform, the human or the machine? Here are three possible scenarios:

  • Human driver is liable — If the automation failed but the driver should have noticed the danger and had time to avoid the danger, the car company would certainly argue that fault lies with the inattentive driver. However, the driver could argue that the technology created a false sense of security for the driver, and the tech company must bear some responsibility.
  • Tech company is liable — If the automation failed due to a problem with the technology, and a reasonably alert human driver could not have avoided the danger, the company that designed the technology is at fault. So, if a computer sensor failed to spot a vehicle or a pedestrian and did not command the vehicle to stop, the fault would lie with the tech company.
  • Third-party fault — If the car’s technology was sound, but failed to operate because of faulty installation, the automobile manufacturer could be liable, rather than the tech company. And, if the tech was not defective at the time the car was manufactured, but failed to operate because it had been damaged or was not properly maintained, the blame could lie with maintenance professional or the car’s owner.

We thoroughly investigate the facts of your accident to determine who is at fault, so we can hold those parties fully accountable.

Fighting for the full compensation you deserve

Over the course of many decades, our firm has represented numerous clients who suffered catastrophic injuries and whose loved ones suffered wrongful death. These cases cry out for justice, which requires high levels of compensation. Powerful technology companies who put unsafe vehicles on the road should not be able to shift responsibility onto their customers, who bought the vehicles in good faith in reliance on the company’s claims. These companies have the resources to cover claims, but they also have deep legal departments working overtime to deny those claims. When you go up against Uber, Tesla, or any other company producing self-driving cars, you need a legal team with the experience, skill and resources to take on these tech giants. At Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers, we are prepared to carry your fight forward, and our attorneys fight to win.

Contact a determined New Jersey law firm for self-driving car accidents

Attorneys at Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers draw on decades of experience in auto accident litigation to recover the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with a skilled and compassionate lawyer with the determination to fight for you, call us today at (973) 364-8300 or contact our office online.

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If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, call us. We are here for you. The consultation is Free. You will not pay any fees unless we win your case, because here at Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers, it's all about getting results for you.

Our Verdicts & Settlements


  • $5.8 Million Settlement Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers Obtained a $5.8 Million Settlement on Behalf of Injured Client
  • $5.35 Million Settlement Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers Obtained a $5.35 Million Settlement at Trial on Behalf of a Pedestrian Struck by a Tractor Trailer
  • $4.8 Million Settlement Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers Obtained a $4.8 Million Settlement on Behalf of a Woman Injured in a Trucking Accident
  • $2.25 Million Settlement Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers Obtained a $2.25 Million Settlement for an Auto Accident Victim in Bergen County

Meet Our Trial Attorneys


The trial attorneys at Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers have decades of experience with personal injury litigation. We understand the difficulties accident victims experience. Our staff is especially skilled at dealing with medical providers and insurance companies to navigate these claims and allow you to focus on what is truly important - getting back to health.

What Our Clients Are Saying About Us


  • "Best personal injury law firm in New Jersey! My case was not a simple case, but Ed Capozzi and his team took it head on. It was a pleasure to deal with Ed Capozzi and Corey Dietz. All their knowledge and fast response to any questions I had throughout the case made it easier on me. I can’t forget about Mr. Capozzi’s wonderful paralegal. Ella Twardowski was a pleasure to talk to and work with. Everybody was kind and thoughtful. This team of attorneys never made me feel like I was just another case. They make you feel like friends. If you need an personal injury lawyer, give Ed Capozzi and Corey Dietz a call! They won't let you down! Thanks to everyone at Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers! You guys rock!"

    Matt Wislocki
  • "I would never choose another law firm!! Mr. Edward Capozzi and Valentina treated me like family. I was scared to go to court but when I did, he was very aggressive and fought for me. I got so much money for my case!! I can't say it enough, THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!"

    Margarita C.
  • "Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers is a top notch law firm. I worked specifically with Mr. Capozzi, and was very impressed with his knowledge of personal injury law, and his commitment to ensuring I got the result I deserved."

    Stephen Quigg
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If you have been injured in an accident, call us! We are here for you 24 hours a day. The consultation is free. You will not pay any fees unless we win your case, because here at Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers, it is all about getting results for you.
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