I want to learn some responsibilities of software developers. For example, if I am coding on self driving cars's systems and one day the car causes the death of someone who is responsible of that? Am I responsible on front of laws because I am a member of the developer team of the car self driving system? I think if developers are responsible for results of life critical systems, no one wants to code these systems.

I am going to accept a job as a mid-level developer which includes a life critical system project and i am confusing about the consequences. Will I be responsible on front of laws if the system one day causes a death?

I know that i will give my signature for parts of project that i will work with a team.

  • Whether a developer bears personal liability for a fault in a system depends on many, many factors, not least of which is the legal jurisdiction. In general, corporations shield their employees from liability, but there are circumstances in which they are liable anyway (for example, if the employee acts maliciously). It's also possible that the company offering to hire you isn't a corporation. What if it's a partnership? The short answer to your concerns is that you should hire a lawyer with relevant experience to advise you.
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 14:25
  • @phoog it is a scientific research and development institue of government Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 14:51
  • Where? Not all places in the world have the same laws on subjects like this one.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 18:17
  • 1
    @ohwilleke on TUBITAK in Turkey Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 19:28
  • @avrupayakasi Very helpful.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 20:12

1 Answer 1



Manufacturer’s of goods and services (including software) are potentially liable for harm their products cause.

The most common cause of action is negligence which requires:

  1. A duty of care,
  2. Breach of that duty,
  3. Causing (both legally and proximately) …
  4. Damage.

If the conduct that causes harm is reckless or malicious this may be a crime.

That said, such suits or prosecutions are rare and hardly ever succeed. It is also difficult to see who exactly was negligent. Is it the retailer? The distributor? The integrator? The library developer? The project manager? These could all be different people/companies.

  • 1
    The hard question, and the only that has given me pause to answer is where the buck stops: the product seller, the integrated final product maker, the software firm, or the individual developers, or all of the above if you can prove it. I know the answers in U.S. law, but not in Turkish law, without more research. And at all times, discounting the possibility of intentional sabotage with malicious intent, which would clearly give rise to criminal and civil liability if established.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 21:49

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