Who pays compensation where collisions involve driverless cars?

Driverless cars have generated a lot of interest of late, with a number of vehicle providers carrying out test runs on public roads and insurance companies reviewing their motor insurance products with a view to accommodating the change to automated transport.

The benefits of driverless vehicles have also been well reported. For example, driverless vehicles will reportedly reduce pollution and, quite importantly, are expected to remove human error leading to fewer road traffic collisions.

While driverless cars may remove human error, they introduce risks of their own with machine error being one key issue. There are tricky questions about who pays compensation when driverless cars cause injury or damage. This is because traditional laws on vehicle-related accident sought compensation from drivers and their insurers on the basis of driver fault where a driver’s negligence had caused injury or damage.

Proposed new laws

The UK Government is seeking to address this issue by introducing new laws which could make it easier to seek compensation directly from insurers of driverless vehicles when insured vehicles cause injury or damage.

The Government introduced the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill to the House of Parliament in October 2017, though it is yet to be passed as law.

When introducing the Bill, Transport Minister John Hayes said, “We want the UK to be the best place in the world to do business and a leading hub for modern transport technology, which is why we are introducing the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill in Parliament and investing more than £1.2bn in the industry.”

(Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/boost-for-electric-and-driverless-car-industry-as-government-drives-forward-green-transport-revolution)

What changes are being introduced

Under the proposals, motor vehicle insurers will be liable to pay compensation when a driverless vehicle they insure causes an accident while “driving itself” which results in death, personal injury and/or property damage.

Insurers will not have to pay compensation if the driverless vehicle is uninsured at the time of the accident. Insurers can also avoid liability or limit the amount of compensation they are liable to pay if an injured person is partly at fault for the accident.

Source: https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/automatedandelectricvehicles.html

Barristers4u are specialists with experience in a wide range of motor-related incidents. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

Property damage and how we can help you

Damage to property can be quite stressful for any landlord, tenant or lettings agent to deal with. It can cost you valuable time and money to get your property back in good condition. Landlords in particular are at risk because damage to your property can lower its value and reduce how marketable your property will be in the open market.

Common causes of property damage

Poor building works

Not all building works go to plan. Sometimes a builder you have asked to carry out some work on your property may carry out the work in a negligent manner, causing damage to the rest of your building. They may also use products like pipes that leak and cause water damage. Often you may need to hire another builder or tradesman to repair the damage, which leads to more costs.


Most homeowners and tenants do not realise their property is subsiding until they start to see visible cracks on the walls. Properties in areas with a lot of vegetation and clay soils are prone to subsidence as untamed tree roots encroach underneath the foundations causing the walls to crack.

Flood and fire damage

Floods and fires are a key risk for property owners. Flooding in the UK, especially during periods of high rainfall, has meant that a number of properties have been damaged by floods while the risk of a fire erupting is one that is present all year round.

Vandalism and impact damage

Tenants or any other person can vandalise your property. Properties can also suffer impact damage which can happen, for example, when a vehicle drives into the property (this happens surprisingly often).

How barristers can help

Barristers can help you by:

• Considering your case and advising you on the best legal and commercial options to rectify your property

• Identifying who is at fault for the damage to your property

• Recovering the cost of repairs

• Advising on the legal options available to you to protect your property against any losses in the event of any unavoidable future damage

Contact our team of expert property barristers today to discuss your options.

Photo: home green by nikcname licensed under Creative commons 2