Each spring, high school students start planning for proms, a big event that seems to become more involved each year. In addition to getting a date, buying a gown and tux, taking pictures, and planning for the after parties, hiring a limousine to transport the prom goers is often part of the preparations.
Oftentimes, large groups share a limo to save on money and add to the party atmosphere. With all the details that go into this night, some may neglect to properly research the limo company, potentially putting themselves in danger.
Limousines are not only used for proms; they are rented for parties, airport rides, and for many other reasons. The rider’s safety rests largely on the limo driver, who could be distracted, inexperienced, or even intoxicated.
Last fall, 20 people lost their lives in a horrific limo accident in Schoharie, New York. While on its way to a party, the stretch SUV ran through a dangerous intersection, crossed a highway, and hit another vehicle that was in a parking lot. It also hit and fatally injured two pedestrians before it crashed into a ditch. Subsequent investigations found the vehicle was actually a modified Ford Excursion and had failed a safety inspection. Furthermore, the driver was not properly licensed.
Limousine drivers must exercise caution and reasonable care while driving passengers to avoid accidents. Working long hours and dealing with factors like poor weather can affect driving abilities in some cases. This is why drivers have to be well-trained to operate these vehicles and must be attentive at all times. The limos also have to be properly maintained and pass inspections, as a tire blowout or mechanical problem such as defective brakes could easily cause a crash.
When a limo accident occurs, liability is determined in the same way as other traffic accidents, through evidence.
The stretch SUV involved in the Schoharie crash was modified by being sawed in half, lengthened, and then refurbished inside. Chopping up vehicles in this way and putting them together with parts from other cars, trucks, or limos is very dangerous, according to the president of the National Safety Council. These refurbished vehicles do not always have factory-approved parts or safety equipment like seat belts and air bags. Prom goers who hire these companies are likely oblivious to all of this.
Families should take extra time to choose a properly licensed company that operates safe vehicles. Shopping around, doing research, and looking at the actual limo before the big night is recommended. This includes asking the limo company about their insurance policy and requesting a copy of it. If the company balks at this request, it may be time to find another one; a reputable company should have a solid policy with no fault provisions. This will cover passenger medical bills in case of an accident.
If you have suffered injuries in any type of motor vehicle crash, contact the experienced Wilmington car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. We will discuss your case with you and provide knowledgeable legal guidance. Call 302-656-5445 or complete an online contact form today. With offices in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware, we represent clients in Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.