WHO ARE YOU GO­ING TO SUE?

New Zealand Listener - - FUTURE OF MOTORING -

NEW ZEALAND IS UN­USUAL IN HAV­ING BANNED THE RIGHT TO SUE FOR per­sonal in­jury, in ex­change for com­pen­sa­tion un­der the Ac­ci­dent Com­pen­sa­tion Cor­po­ra­tion (ACC). Man­u­fac­tur­ers of self-driv­ing cars in other coun­tries could get sued if their car makes a mis­take and in­jures some­one, but the pos­si­bil­ity arises that ACC will pick up the tab in New Zealand.

What’s more, the fund that ACC uses to com­pen­sate motor ac­ci­dent vic­tims re­ceives no con­tri­bu­tions from ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers. So if some­one is in­jured due to a de­sign de­fect in the brakes of a con­ven­tional car, com­pen­sa­tion is paid for by ACC; in the US the man­u­fac­turer could be li­able.

This will con­tinue to be the case when driver­less cars hit the road. The ap­pro­pri­ate levies would be too com­plex to col­lect and, in any case, New Zealand ben­e­fits from safety as­sur­ance regimes in other coun­tries.

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