For many people, self-driving cars represent the wave of the future. In California, the home of the global tech industry, vehicles with autonomous functions may become commonplace on highways. Government officials want these vehicles to operate safely, which is why statistics on disengagement are logged.

When someone sits in the driver’s seat of an autonomous car, he or she expects the vehicle to operate as intended. Unfortunately, technology isn’t perfect, and the driver may need to take over for the self-driving car. If the human test driver takes over the wheel, this incident is known as disengagement.

Companies test self-driving vehicles, and under state rules, the companies must disclose when the testing official manually takes control of the vehicle. Test drivers may grab the wheel out of caution, not necessarily because the vehicle operated dangerously.

The driver might take over the wheel to avoid an accident. If the vehicle goes through a red light or ignores a pedestrian crossing the road, the driver will hopefully spring into action and avoid a crisis. Although the driver may take the wheel to avoid an accident, he or she might still be guilty of negligence. Was the driver impaired or otherwise not effectively monitoring the vehicle? If so, an argument about contributory negligence may arise.

The self-driving car’s manufacturer might face a day in court after an accident. Was the vehicle’s technology defective or poorly tested? Such questions may serve as the basis for a negligence suit.

Whether hit by an autonomous car or a traditional one, an injured party might ask an attorney to file a lawsuit. After a motor vehicle accident, an attorney may seek compensation for bodily injury and property damage. Issues with auto insurance claims could arise; if the insurance provider offers a low settlement, an attorney may be able to negotiate for a higher one.