Who’s Liable in an Accident Involving a Hacked Car?

Dec 28, 2015 Car Accidents    Uncategorized

Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC

Cars today are now described as being part of the Internet of Things. That is, with their capability to interface with smartphones and maps and satellites, they are close to being as tied into the Web as almost any device around.

While that may seem intriguing to today’s young prospective vehicle buyers around Akron, the technological possibilities could also present some interesting challenges that children of the digital age might want to keep in mind. We’re talking specifically about cars being hacked.

Readers may be aware of reports earlier this year about hackers who succeeded in hacking some Jeep Cherokees. They are said to have been able to play around with the windshield wipers, mess with dashboard controls and more. Another hack job was able to show that it would be possible to disable the brakes on a Corvette.

These events make it reasonable to ask the question, who would be liable if a hacked car got into a crash? The answer could well be, you.

Those with experience in personal injury litigation know that questions of liability start with the driver behind the wheel. If you have a car that you know has the potential of being hacked, like those Jeeps, and you don’t do all you can to prevent it from happening, you could be held accountable for an accident.

Many states have laws that make hacking a crime, so a hacker might be charged. If their recklessness results in injury or death, they could be sued. But, of course, all that presumes they are caught, which might be hard to do.

Car manufacturers might bear responsibility if they knew about a hack threat but failed to take action. In the example of the Jeep hack, Fiat Chrysler issued a recall as soon as it was aware of the possible problem.

What is clear is that the potential targets for liability claims can be complicated to identify unless you have the help of a skilled attorney.