Limousine Liability Alleged in Fatal Car Accident Lawsuit

A limousine carrier in Illinois has been shuttered and is now facing at least two lawsuits following a fatal crash in which a 20-year-old driver was operating a commercial vehicle across state lines.limosuine

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the one person killed and six injured all hailed from Wisconsin and were on their way to the airport in Chicago for a vacation to Mexico. The driver was reportedly blinded by sun glare, struck a median barrier and flipped.

The young man should never have been driving the vehicle because Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulation requires only 21-and-over drivers to operate commercial vehicles across state lines. In addition to that, federal regulators discovered the limousine carrier failed to conduct pre-employment background checks on its drivers, kept no maintenance records of the vehicles and did not monitor its drivers in order to prevent fatigue. It also did not maintain a $1.5 million liability insurance policy as is required by law of for-hire passenger carriers. Further, it had been more than three years since the limousine service had filed its required safety registration. It was inactive for failure to file at the time of the wreck. 

As our Greenville injury lawyers know, limousine and taxi services are often considered a safer alternative for teens and young adults seeking an alert and sober driver while they kick back and imbibe or simply enjoy the company of their peers. But what happens when the driver is negligent?

Given that prom season is upon is, it’s timely to discuss potential liability of limousine services, party buses, taxis and other for-hire drivers. There have been a number of cases in recent years that involve these entities. For example:

  • A teen from New Jersey was killed on a party bus when he stuck his head through the escape door of a roof of the bus as it passed underneath a bridge.
  • A Kansas woman was thrown from a party bus when it hit a bump while rounding a curve. She later died.
  • An 11-year-old girl fell from the window of a party bus in 2013.
  • Three high-profile party bus accidents happened in the Los Angeles area in 2014, including the death of a 16-year-old who struck his head on a double decker bus as it passed under an overpass.

An investigation by The Los Angeles Times revealed the number of party bus carriers increased significantly over a five-year timeline, from 6,000 to 9,000 just in California alone. And yet, there is little state regulation of these outfits.

Usually, the answer is that both the driver and the company can be found liable to cover damages, which is why both are named as defendants in this lawsuit. Plaintiffs here are alleging that not only was defendant carrier vicarious liable for the actions of its employee (an allegation for which plaintiff does not need to prove actual negligence by the company), the carrier is also directly negligent for negligent hiring, training and supervision.

Many people assume their car insurance policy would cover activities on a party bus, but that may not necessarily be the case. It’s important before agreeing to pay for a limo service or party bus for teens (or other groups) to check the insurance coverage to make sure it is adequate. Also, check the safety record of the carrier to make sure there are no red flags.

Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

First lawsuit filed in limo crash that killed 1 passenger, injured 5 others, April 7, 2016, By Ed Treleven, Wisconsin State Journal

More Blog Entries:

Distracted Driving is Going to Cost Us All in 2016, March 22, 2016, Greenville Car Accident Attorney Blog

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