Google, the IT giant, has taken the patent law to the next level. Simply put, it’s done what every great inventor has had to do. In its attempt to redefine technology, Google started experimenting with cars to make them drive on their own.
Almost six years ago, Google set upon creating cars that could be driven without requiring the presence of an intelligent person inside. For the prodigies at Google, the concept of a driver was too inefficient. In keeping with its 21st century innovation, Google felt, you shouldn’t have to drive the machine just because you want it to do something for you—you should just be able to get into it, and it should take you where you want to go.
Google Creates a Sticky Situation
Google has taken its passion to the level of devotion. With a patent acquired recently, Google will also be able to protect an ingenious part of the car’s design. This rather novel part was introduced by Google sometime back when it decided to make these cars safer than manually driven cars.
The patented part forms a segment of the car’s hood and bears a glass covering which will break after the car hits a pedestrian. Once broken, the glass covering will expose a new layer from underneath. The newly exposed layer will be tacky, and the pedestrian, who hit the outer glass covering and exposed the adhesive hidden layer, will stick to the car instead of bouncing back. Put simply, pedestrians hit by a Google car won’t be knocked or hurled. Instead they will stick to the car and remain there until the car stops.
Surely the supremely clever contrivance deserves highest respect, admiration, and appreciation. Anyone who disputes that this technology isn’t progressive and lifesaving surely doesn’t know the statistics and accident-related deaths in America and the world outside.
Can Intelligence Skew the Facts?
But respect for intellect is one thing, seeing the real value of the invention and the way it’s used is quite another. There are a number of legalities to bear in mind when you are considering the pro and cons of the progress that Google is making.
First, the value of the invention needs to be examined. That the pedestrian hit by the car won’t be knocked ten feet in the air to land and break her spine sounds impressive—this goes without saying. But on closer examination, a slightly different picture emerges.
The hit-me-and-get-stuck hood will only prevent secondary injuries—Injuries coming as a result of falling after the crash. It offers absolutely no protection against primary injuries—injuries coming as a result of the crash.
A Typical Accident Scenario
Imagine that a person is hit by a fast-moving car. The car hits her legs, which fracture upon contact with the car’s hood, and then she is tossed into the air. On coming down and falling on her arm, she fractures her arm too.
The first series of injuries cannot be prevented through Google’s new technology. Only the second one—the arm fracture resulting from her falling back on the surface—will be averted.
Now, there’s no disputing the fact that prevention of secondary injuries is a giant step in reducing the number of injuries sustained in pedestrian accidents, but it’s also important to point out that secondary injuries lead to serious disabilities far less than the primary ones.
The Facts About Personal Injury Lawsuits
In most personal injury lawsuits, it’s the primary injuries which form the real core of the case. And the reason behind it is also simple. Doctors will tell you that the severity of an injury caused in an accident is a function of the momentum of both the forces and the resulting change in the momentum of each force.
The real transfer of momentum takes place upon first contact with the pedestrian. It’s upon that initial impact that the substantial damage on the skeletal structure of the human body occurs.
Not that secondary injuries don’t count, but it’s that they account for far less disabilities than the primary ones. So it’s not that Google has devised a completely novel way of preventing all accident-related injuries. This invention will only prevent secondary injuries. The primary injuries are still a cause for concern in these types of accidents.
What Has Accident Lawyers Concerned?
The major apprehension that this patent has for accident attorneys is liability. When Google claims that its technology prevents secondary injuries to pedestrians who are struck by a car, then the victims will not receive ample compensation for their primary injuries.
Like so many other pedestrian accidents that require an attorney, insurance companies will do whatever they can to close a claim and pay the smallest amount possible to the victim. Victims become scared of insurance companies and quickly settle in hopes of moving on from the experience.
When these victims hear about the technology that “saved” their lives rather than about the initial impact that could easily leave them with a lifetime of pain and suffering, they will be more likely to settle for the minimum and then spend the rest of their lives struggling with the after effects without the necessary compensation to do so.
The question that comes to the mind of many attorneys is, “Is this news a cause of joy or concern?”
Here’s the short answer: both. First, you can only applaud Google’s courage to try and do something that no one else has. If it’s successful, Google’s efforts will surely save hundreds of thousands of lives every year.
But there should also be a point where triumph over sense of accomplishment should give way to rationality and reason. When big business gets involved in anything, the little guy is not what comes to mind first. It is guided by numbers—in the form of both dollars and statistics.
This is why you need an attorney to look out for your interests. Without someone on your side, you can easily get misled by people who do not have your best interests at heart.
This is why regardless of what type of accident you may have suffered from and despite what anyone tells you, you need an attorney whose primary concern is you.