Tragedy struck this month when a stretch limo was carrying a bridal party in New York and crashed. All 17 passengers were killed, as well as the driver and two pedestrians. Though more needs to be revealed, immediate reports included information that the crash may have been the result of the limo failing a safety inspection just weeks before the crash.
It is understandable that people throughout the country are now talking about limo safety laws and whether or not they need to be changed. However, will many states may lack strong laws regarding limos, this is not the case in California. We have high standards for our limo companies and their drivers and our laws make it easier for victims to hold the at-fault party responsible if they are in a limo accident.
There are many potential causes of limo accidents in California
There are many reasons that a limo accident can occur. Some of the most common causes in California include limos that were improperly modified, drivers operating in bad weather, limo companies not properly maintaining their vehicles, dangerous roads, limited visibility, drivers operating while tired, and drivers being distracted. In any limo or car accident, it is important to investigate to find the cause.
Many limo accidents involve shared fault
It is the law that all limos in California must have a seatbelt for each passenger. However, it is very common for a passenger not to wear a seatbelt when traveling in a limo. This can significantly increase their chance of being in a serious or even fatal crash – in fact, one study showed that a person not wearing a seatbelt in the back is eight times more likely to be in a serious or fatal car accident.
Not wearing a seatbelt could have an impact on a personal injury claim in California. Why? Because California follows comparative fault, which means that fault does not mean you cannot recover compensation but also that your damages can be reduced if you contributed to the accident. It may be that if a person is found to not have been wearing their seatbelt, they can be found partially at fault for the severity of their injuries.
Limos must follow common carrier rules and regulations
In California, limos are considered common carriers, which are businesses that transport people for a fee. Common carriers have specific rules and regulations they must follow. They include performing regular maintenance and inspections, ensuring limos have proper safety equipment, compliance with state and federal laws, following laws regarding maximum hours drivers can work, and hiring drivers who are properly licensed.
If you have been involved in an accident involving a limo or another type of common carrier then we urge you to contact Law Offices of Michael A. Kahn at (310) 209-1600 for a free legal consultation. We believe that you deserve to know what your options are and we are ready to provide them for you.