File this one way to "No Shit". Eric Turkewitz is a personal injury lawyer in New York and he's convinced that self-driving cars will spell the end of his career. And he's totally okay with that.
Turkewitz makes the same case for autonomous cars as their proponents, namely eliminating human error and curtailing drunk and distracted driving. But from a lawyer's point-of-view, it cuts both ways.
First off, some of these cars will crash and people will get injured. And you can bet your last dollar that there will be lawsuits and some class actions regarding that, with many fingers pointed Google's way.
But once those bugs are worked out, the net affect to his industry will "eviscerate a significant portion of the personal injury bar." Sure, people will sue the companies behind self-driving cars when something goes wrong, but those are going to be larger cases with dozens or hundreds of plaintiffs, not the one-on-one cases involved in personal injury suits.
The issue of lawsuits regarding the cars will, I think, be vastly overwhelmed by a huge reduction in collisions that result from the most common forms of human error.
With human error crashes reduced by software that automatically stops or slows the car, the number of broken bodies and cars will be reduced. The number of deaths will be reduced. Your insurance premiums will be (theoretically) reduced.
And that means the need for my services as a personal injury attorney will be reduced. (Likewise reduced will be the need for trauma health teams and emergency rooms, not to mention car body shops.)
Has anyone ever cheered being put out of business? I am. Because I drive, too.
His advice for recent law school grads? Don't get into personal injury. Although shifting focus to privacy and security law is probably a smart alternative.