The recent limousine accident in Amsterdam, NY that claimed 20 lives was the deadliest transportation accident in the United States since 2009, and the event has many people wondering who is to blame. The accident killed the driver, 17 passengers, and two bystanders, leaving no one alive to recount how the accident happened. According to nearby witnesses, the limo failed to stop at a stop sign and hit a parked SUV at over 60 mph.
When a limousine accident happens, anyone injured should know his or her options for legal recourse if the accident occurred due to negligence. If a limo driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or the limo company failed to properly vet and train drivers, then liability may fall to the driver, the driver’s employer, or both. If a vehicle defect or faulty maintenance causes an accident, then the manufacturer or service provider that worked on the vehicle may face liability. Any company that offers transportation to the public as a paid service is a common carrier, and common carriers have a higher duty of care on the road than typical individual drivers.
To learn more about this, speak to a Houston personal injury attorney.
Common Carrier Lawsuits
If you sustained injuries in a limo accident then you likely have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against the limo driver, the limo service, or both. Fault plays an important role in any type of common carrier accident. For example, if a limo driver falls asleep at the wheel and causes a crash, this falls outside the scope of the driver’s duties and liability would fall to the driver for his or her negligence. If another vehicle causes an accident with a limousine, then the at-fault driver would bear liability for the resulting damages.
Some types of limousines are more prone to serious accidents than others are. Factory-produced limousines must meet strict safety regulations and construction requirements, but some limousine services use vehicles converted into limousines. These converted limos do not typically have the same amount of reinforcement in their construction as factory-produced limos or side airbags. Shoddy construction can also mean the body of the vehicle cannot withstand any significant impact.
Common carrier vehicles like buses and limos typically carry many passengers at once, and passengers may not wear seatbelts during their rides. This is especially true for limo services, which most people hire for a luxurious experience with a professional driver. In some states, this is perfectly legal because the law operates under the assumption that limo drivers will take the utmost care in preventing accidents and injuries to their passengers.
Proving Liability and Collecting Compensation
Common carriers do not fall under strict liability laws, so a plaintiff in a common carrier lawsuit must prove that the carrier breached its duty of care to prevent injuries to paying customers. The plaintiff must then prove that this breach of duty was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s claimed damages. It’s also essential to provide proof of the extent of the claimed damages in any lawsuit.
When common carriers cause accidents due to negligence, injured passengers may suffer life-threatening or severe injuries like broken bones, traumatic head injuries, and other disabling injuries. When a limo accident results in a serious injury to you or a loved one, address your immediate medical needs first and then contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.
Like any other personal injury lawsuit, a limo accident claim can help an injured plaintiff secure compensation for his or her medical expenses, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering resulting from negligence. It’s also possible for the defendant driver or company to face punitive damages as well for gross negligence, criminal behavior, or intentional torts that cause accidents.