Limousines are associated with glamor, luxury, and comfort. Unfortunately, despite their reputation as an elegant way to travel, limousines are not always as safe as they appear. The patchy laws which regulate stretch limousines vary between Pennsylvania and other states, increasing the risk that limo companies will use unfit, defective vehicles to transport passengers to parties or events. Another risk is that limousine companies will hire or retain inexperienced drivers who lack the proper licenses and qualifications. Mechanical defects, dangerous vehicle modifications, and unlicensed limo drivers are just a few of the factors that can lead to a serious or deadly limo accident, like the fatal crash that tragically killed 20 people in October 2018.
If you were injured in a limousine accident in Pennsylvania, or if you were hit by a limo while you were walking or riding your bike, you should talk to the experienced attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm about your legal options. If you were a victim of someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages. The Pennsylvania limousine accident lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm have spent more than 34 years fighting for justice on behalf of injury victims, and we are ready to fight for you. For a free consultation about limo accident liability and whether you could have a case, contact The Reiff Law Firm online, or call us today at (215) 246-9000.
How Dangerous Are Stretch Limousines?
Despite being known for opulence and luxury, limousines and stretch limousines may pose serious, hidden risks – not only to those they are transporting, but also to pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and others. Among the 20 victims who lost their lives in the devastating accident in October, 17 were passengers, one was the limousine’s driver, and two were pedestrians who were struck and killed as the vehicle careened out of control. Dangerous vehicle modifications, threadbare safety regulations, lack of vehicle inspection and maintenance procedures, improperly licensed drivers or chauffeurs, and even poor weather or hazardous roadway design can all contribute to deadly crashes.
How Are Stretch Limo Companies Regulated?
Stretch limousines immediately stand out from other vehicles on the road. Unfortunately, their striking appearance and roomy interiors can come at an extremely high cost. Stretch limousines have been described as “automotive zombies” because they are often modified, repurposed versions of other vehicles. For example, the vehicle that was involved in the fatal accident in October was a modified 2001 Ford Excursion that was later converted into a limousine.
Stretch limousines are generally created by starting with a regular vehicle, such as an SUV. The original vehicle is then separated into two pieces, so that extensions and seats can be added. During this process, crucial airbags and safety pillars are often stripped from the vehicle, leaving passengers with less physical protection in the event of an accident.
Because these sorts of modifications are made after the original vehicle leaves the factory, they are subject to minimal regulation at the federal level. Instead of following a uniform system of federal laws, they are predominantly regulated at the state level, meaning some states follow much different standards than others when it comes to critical safety inspections.
What to Do After a Limo Accident in Pennsylvania
If you were hurt in a limo crash in Pennsylvania, it is in your best interests to discuss the situation with a limousine injury attorney once you have sought medical care. Limousine companies are subject to a unique and complex set of liability laws, which an attorney can help you understand while building a stronger case on your behalf.
Pennsylvania defines “limousine service” as follows: “Local, nonscheduled common carrier service for passengers rendered in luxury-type vehicles on an exclusive basis which is arranged for in advance.” For limousine accident victims, two words from this definition are especially important: “common carrier.”
Under 66 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 102, a “common carrier” is defined as a service that provides “the transportation of passengers or property, or both… between points within [Pennsylvania] by motor vehicle for compensation,” depending on other factors. Common carrier status is an important detail in accident claims and lawsuits, because common carriers – which also include trains, buses, and taxi services – are held to higher and more rigorous standards than other types of drivers or vehicles. When a common carrier causes an accident, such as a rollover or collision with another vehicle, the standards for proving fault and liability are lower than the standards that would apply in most other types of auto accident cases.
Types of Limousine Accident Injury Lawsuits We Handle
At The Reiff Law Firm, our dedicated team of limo injury lawyers possesses decades of experience handling thousands of personal injury claims and wrongful death lawsuits in Pennsylvania, including lawsuits against common carriers. We know the laws, we know the strategies, and we know how to maximize the value of your claim. Our law firm handles all types of limo accidents and injury cases in Pennsylvania, including:
- Types of Accidents
- Accidents caused by driver error (such as speeding, running a red light, ignoring a stop sign, failing to yield, distracted driving, or drunk driving)
- Accidents caused by vehicle defects
- Head-on collisions
- Intersection accidents
- Left-hand turn accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- Rollover accidents
- Side collisions (“T-bone” accidents)
- Types of Injuries
- Amputation injuries
- Bone fractures (broken bones)
- Bruises and contusions
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Cuts and lacerations
- Eye injuries and vision loss
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI)
- Sprains and strains (soft tissue injuries)
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
While nothing can reverse the accident, filing a lawsuit can give you a voice to hold unsafe drivers or limo companies accountable. Suing the limousine company or other parties also gives you an opportunity to recover financial compensation, which can help lighten the financial burden of the accident. If you were injured in a limo crash, it may be possible to recover compensation for:
- Accident-related medical costs, including anticipated medical expenses, such as surgery, hospital admission, prescription medication, physical therapy, and doctor appointments
- Diminished capacity to earn future income due to long-term or permanent impairment or disability
- Pain and suffering
- Wages and earnings you lost due to your injuries
Pennsylvania Limo Accident Attorneys Fighting for Crash Victims
When careless or illegal behavior kills or injures another person, the stretch limo accident lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm are committed to holding the at-fault parties accountable. Whether we are representing a limousine passenger, the occupant of another vehicle, a pedestrian or cyclist, or the surviving family members of a wrongful death victim, we approach every case with an unwavering commitment to support and fight for our clients.
If you or one of your loved ones was injured in an accident involving a limo or stretch limo, we are here to help. For a free legal consultation, contact us online, or call The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000.