We live in a world where innovation is constant. We hear about self-driving cars, personal and private data that is stored in a “cloud” that we cannot see, and financial transactions are made largely without the use of currency. What do these changes mean with respect to personal injury cases in the years to come? It is a difficult question to answer but one that will be important for personal injury lawyers to both anticipate and have the courage to litigate when the opportunity arises.
Self-driving cars are being tested throughout the country. In at least one case, there has been a death resulting from the operation of a self-driving car. Though the facts of this case are not completely known, the question of whether there was contributory negligence seems to be important in deciding whether the safety of this machine is one to be questioned. Who is to be sued? Is it the manufacturer or the company that distributes the self-driving cars? Is the government responsible for monitoring this distribution? These questions need to be answered.
The use of personal data by retailers is an important question. Privacy and security are increasing concerns for the general population both in terms of physical safety and the protection of data. None of us can imagine living without the use of communication by computer. Most people under the age of 50 pay their bills online and have their personal communications done electronically. The newspapers are full of stories about how these privacy concerns are breached regularly and what the ramifications are to those who are victims. Who is responsible for protecting your information? Should there be security cameras most everywhere you go to prevent crime and theft? What is reasonable and responsible behavior by an employer? By the local or state government? All important issues.
Those tort lawyers who consider themselves aggressive advocates for their clients need to look at new and interesting avenues to protect people’s property and rights. The dialogue is just beginning and will continue for years to come.
By: Kent Barker
Attorney Kent M. Barker practices Personal Injury, Family & Divorce, and Criminal Law at Winer & Bennett, LLP. To receive expert and experienced legal counsel on your Personal Injury matter, contact the attorneys at Winer & Bennett at 603-882-5157. Visit our website at www.winerbennett.com.