For many people, the decision to travel by limousine is simply one of convenience. At other times, however, a limousine ride appears to be the safest way to get to where you’re going. This is particularly true regarding wine-tasting excursions, senior proms or other occasions in which alcohol may play a role. Is this mode of transportation really that much safer? If an accident should happen, who will be held responsible?
The question may never have crossed your mind, but if you have been injured as a passenger in a limousine, you would normally stand to receive some form of compensation. Before you can receive it, though, you may have to prove your case in a court of law.
This will entail demonstrating negligence in several areas. The fault may lie with the chauffeur, the limousine company, the vehicle’s manufacturer or all three to some extent.
To start, you will have a case if you can prove that the limousine driver was:
- Speeding, swerving or behaving erratically.
- Driving under the influence. This is illegal in every state.
- Sleep deprivation. Many drivers continue working despite being overly tired.
- Driving while distracted. Seventy percent of drivers today, some of whom may be chauffeurs, admit to the occasional use of cellphones or infotainment systems to text or surf the internet while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.
In addition, you may hold the limousine company itself responsible for:
- Improper vehicle maintenance.
- Overloading the limousine with too many passengers.
- Providing vehicles that are unsafe or unfit for carrying occupants.
- Expecting drivers to remain on the job when impaired by lack of sleep.
- Operating a limousine service without a permit.
- Lacking the proper insurance.
- Hiring unqualified or improperly licensed drivers.
The vehicle’s manufacturer, for its part, could be held to account for any defect in manufacture that proves to have been responsible for the subsequent accident.
When the Insurers Decline to Insure
Unfortunately, some insurers will do their best to avoid paying any damages whatsoever, preferring instead to shift the blame to other parties whenever possible. The likelihood of encountering this scenario grows along with the number of passengers who may be claiming damages in relation to any single limousine accident.
For example, the manufacturer’s insurer can easily contend that the broken component that appears to have caused the accident failed only because the limousine company neglected to maintain it properly. The limousine company might then turn around and blame the driver alone for the improper use of that component. Furthermore, if the limousine crash involved one or more additional vehicles, investigators could easily attempt to shift the blame to one or more of the others.
Common Types of Limousine Accident Injuries and Potential Compensations
Many injuries suffered in limousine accidents resemble those received by riders in passenger cars. Such things as broken bones, neck and back injuries, amputations, lacerations and spinal cord damage are possible in either type of accident. Only in a bus or limousine, however, is an occupant likely to slip and fall or to suffer cuts from broken wine glasses or bottles.
Once you have proven that your suffering occurred strictly at the hands of the limousine’s driver, owner or manufacturer, you will be entitled to compensation for medical expenses incurred in a contemporary time frame and directly related to the accident itself. This will normally include costs connected with:
- Emergency room services.
- Hospital stays.
- Medical visits.
- Crutches, wheelchairs, braces or other medical equipment.
Since the injuries received as a passenger in a limousine accident can continue causing problems for months or even years into the future, your damages can also include reimbursement for ongoing doctor visits and physical therapy. Compensation for lost wages and future loss of earning capacity are other possibilities if serious injuries impede your ability to work for a significant length of time. Finally, depression, anxiety, grief, fright, general distress and other forms of mental anguish suffered because of the accident will also be entitled to compensation.
Steps to Take After a Limousine Accident
If you have been the victim of a limousine accident, it is vital that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. You will also need to acquire legal representation. This will help to ensure that someone has gathered evidence to support your case by taking pictures; speaking to witnesses; and documenting road and weather conditions. An immediate and thorough investigation will be vital to your case.
The attorneys at Weiner Law Group have experience in fighting personal injury cases for passengers who have come to grief in limousine accidents. If you should find yourself in this unfortunate position, please do not hesitate to contact us as soon as you can. Our attorneys will fight to win you every cent of compensation to which you are entitled.