Limousines can be a great, luxurious feature to many different types of celebrations – weddings, birthdays, proms, and much more. However, the large size and weight of the vehicle makes it perhaps more susceptible to certain types of accidents. Since limousines can transport anywhere from 8-14 passengers, many people can be affected and experience some serious injuries from an accident.
Limousine accidents can occur from a variety of sources and end in outcomes of varying severity, but the basic feature that they all have in common is that some entity breached their duty of care owed to the passenger which resulted in an accident. These cases are built on the basis of negligence, which we will discuss in further detail below.
The car accident lawyers at Agruss Law Firm, LLC have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one has been injured in a limousine accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Types and Causes of Limousine Accidents
Limousine accidents can also cause a variety of injuries including bruising, broken or sprained bones, whiplash, concussion or traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and possibly even death. This also does not account for the potential emotional and psychological trauma that follows after a severe accident. Some of the most common types and causes of limousine accidents include the following:
- Limousine driver error – The driver of a limousine can cause an accident by disregarding traffic signs, speeding, distracted or drunk driving, fatigued driving, and much more. However, these drivers have a duty of care owed to passengers to safely transport them. Their failure to do so could be a case of negligence.
- Other driver’s error – Just like any other motor vehicle accident, other people on the road can break the law and cause an accident that severely injures others.
- Manufacturing defects or design defects – If a component of the limousine is defective in its design or its manufacturing, then it may malfunction or break in the middle of a drive. In this case, the consequences could be disastrous. The manufacturer or other actor in the chain of distribution is responsible for releasing safe products to the public.
- Improper maintenance or inspections – There must be a party responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the limousine. This includes inspecting it for its safety and keeping it in proper working condition. When they fail to do this, this may be considered negligence.
Who Is Liable?
In order to find the negligent party in a limousine accident case, you should be able to prove the elements of negligence. First, you must prove that a duty of care existed between you and the limo driver. This is afforded to you since the “for hire vehicles” such as limousines owe a duty to safely move you from one destination to the next. Then, you must prove that that duty of care was breached; this should be clear from an accident. You must also prove that their actions or inactions were the only, direct cause of your injuries. Lastly, you must be able to prove that you suffered real damages and injuries. A plaintiff must be able to adequately prove these four elements in order to attain a successful claim.
Depending on the type of accident that occurred, there are certain parties which would be considered liable for negligence. In the case of the limousine driver causing the accident by their own error, such as violating traffic laws, they would be considered liable for negligence since they breached the duty of care owed to you. It is worth noting that a limousine driver is typically functioning on the limousine company’s insurance. If another driver caused the accident, they could be considered liable for negligence.
If there was a defective part of the limousine that caused it to malfunction or break and cause your injuries, then the manufacturer, vendor, or another actor in the chain of distribution could be held liable for negligence. This is a product liability matter. They failed to distribute a safe and properly functioning product to the public due to some manufacturing or design defect, so they breached their duty of care to the passengers.
If the accident was caused due to poor maintenance or lack of inspections of the limousine, the party that was responsible for doing so can be held liable. This may be the actual limousine company or a third party company that was assigned the duty to inspect and maintain the vehicle.
The Common Carrier Law
The limousine company and their drivers are considered “common carriers” under Illinois statutes. The Common Carrier Liability Act (740 ILCD 25/) imposes the highest duty of care and safety for passengers in vehicles deemed to be common carriers. The statute defines a common carrier as, “a business that transports people, good, or services and offers its services to the general public under license or authority provided by a regulatory body.”
The standards and expectations for common carriers are very high, in terms of safety and caution in its employees’ duties as well as the equipment maintenance. If these standards are not completely met in some way (causing an accident), and especially if passengers are left injured or deceased, they would be violating the common carrier law and could be found liable for negligence.
So, if you are involved in a limousine accident due to some type and degree of negligence, it may be considered likely that you will have a valid case where you can be compensated for the pain and damages that you experienced. Many successful lawsuits against common carriers are typically due to negligence or intentional acts that injure passengers.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
A limousine accident can cause plenty of physical, mental, and financial stress and hurt. The liable party had a duty of care owed to you and it was not upheld, therefore you deserve fair compensation for what you have experienced. Some common damages that you can recover after a successful claim include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
If you or a loved one has been injured in a limousine accident, call our personal injury lawyers today.