Written by Mallory Hendry for Canadian Lawyer Magazine
Should personal injury lawyers be preparing for driverless cars?
As the development of autonomous vehicles marches forward, personal injury firms should be thinking about the future of their practice. Fredric Litwiniuk, of Litwiniuk & Co. Barristers and Solicitors in Calgary, says his firm has already seen a reduction in accident files with the onslaught of new safety features in cars — the amount of files has stayed the same despite population increase — and expects that trend to continue as the technology trickles from luxury cars into the mainstream market.
Driverless cars, and what they will mean for the business of personal injury law, is always on the mind of his firm as it readies for “some sort of transition,” whatever it may look like. Litwiniuk, director of business development and marketing at his firm, says personal injury lawyers, like any other lawyer in a practice area that is changing, have to be “ready and willing to adapt to the new situation.”
While from a human standpoint, anything that reduces the number of accidents is a positive thing — “We see first-hand the kind of impact it has on lives,” he says — from a business standpoint, “we just have to be cognizant that this is something that’s coming and start positioning ourselves for the transition in law, the transition in practice.”
It’s always hard to predict the future, he says, but for him, “the potential to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities on the roads is huge and can’t be ignored.”
Litwiniuk says his practice will be better prepared when — not if — these autonomous cars hit the market.
“I would discourage anybody — in any profession or any business — from swimming against that kind of tide. Something like this, when it happens, is going to be monumental.”