Self driving vehicles are on the way, you can’t fight the future. The Huffington Post reported that autonomous cars will be the norm by 2026, and that we’ll all be passengers in our own cars by 2046. If you run a personal injury law practice you may not be sounding the alarm in the office hallway just yet, but you need to start thinking about how this will shape your practice. Some food for thought, MADD reported in 2015 that DUI cases in California “fell 6.5% among drivers under 30 in the markets where Uber operates” equating to about 60 less drunk driving crashes each month… still not concerned? Neither were DUI defense lawyers when Uber launched just 5 years prior, but this was solely the result of new technology disrupting traditional business.
Technology giveth, and technology taketh away.
So if cars will drive themselves, the result will be far less car accidents and in turn far fewer new clients for a personal injury attorney. Many injury lawyers report that vehicle accidents represent 50% or more of their practice. With driver error out of the picture, and after driverless technology nearly perfects itself who will be getting into car accidents to support the injury law practice? At the moment Tesla, Mercedes, BMW and most other manufacturers have some sort of vehicle that can drive itself temporarily or at the very least adaptive cruise control. Regarding driverless cars, it’s really not a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of “when”.
What to Expect in the Next 10 Years
As this new technology unfolds, consumers adopt, and the limits are pushed there will undoubtedly be accidents caused by this burgeoning technology. Car and commercial vehicle manufacturers will be under investor pressure to put out driverless vehicles and some may not be road ready - there will be lawsuits to follow. The savvy personal injury lawyer will want to brush up on GPS technology, motion sensors, accelerometers, Artificial Intelligence microprocessors Etc. as these will be the verbal building blocks and concepts for motor vehicle accident cases in the near future. However, this will be a flash in the pan and eventually these cases will be settled, manufacturing will improve and technology will inevitably drive itself forward.
So the question becomes this - If autonomous cars are on the way, how will the injury lawyer adapt or seize the opportunity that is forthcoming? Post your thoughts and comments below.
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