On October 6th, a limousine carrying 17 passengers crashed into a parked vehicle. This occured after failing to stop at an intersection on New York State Route 30. The accident killed all passengers, the driver, and two pedestrians. This was the deadliest transportation-related incident since 2009, when a plane crashed outside of Buffalo killing 50 people. Safety when renting and riding in a limousine must be top priority. If you’ve been in an accident where a limo or driver was at fault, hiring a limousine accident lawyer is an important next step.
Facts about the New York Limo Crash
The limousine was owned by Prestige Limo. A company owned by Shahed Hussain and operated by his son Nauman Hussain. The passengers were on their way to a birthday celebration when the driver crashed. Hitting a parked Toyota Highlander in a restaurant parking lot. Two pedestrians and all occupants of the vehicle were tragically killed.
The driver, Scott Lisinicchia, was not licensed to operate a vehicle. And had previously been previously pulled over and cited for driving the same limo without a license.
The limousine was a converted Ford Excursion that had failed inspection a month prior, to the accident. The limo had not been certified properly as a converted vehicle and was riddled with mechanical issues. Such as defective windshield wipers, no emergency exits, a loose brake line, and a hydraulic antilock brake warning. Prestige Limo had been ordered by the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to discontinue use of the Excursion. However, the company disregarded this command. Two of the victims, Allison King and Erin McGowan had texted loved ones about the poor condition of the vehicle before the accident.
Nauman Hussain was arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide due to the violations and has pled not guilty. He could face between 15 months to four years of prison time, if convicted.
Limousine Safety and Regulations
Since a limousine is neither a bus nor a car, regulations surrounding them are blurry and ineffective. There are two types of limousines. Ones that were made for market as limousines and ones that were altered to add more seating called “stretch limousines”.
If a vehicle is cut up and extended to seat more people, safety features like airbags are typically removed or rendered unusable. After a car is altered to seat more passengers, any regulations surrounding limousines no longer apply to that vehicle. Also, vehicles that seat more than 10 people are not required to have seat belts which could save a passenger’s life in the event of an accident.
Despite the fact that there have been multiple limousine-related fatalities between 2012 and 2016, little has been done to push for more regulations. Senator Chuck Schumer has stated that the National Transportation Safety Board has committed to releasing a proposal for new limousine regulations within the coming six months that the Department of Transportation will review and decide whether or not to implement.
Safety Tips for Riding in Limousines
If you choose to ride in a limousine, there are numerous precautions you should take in order to have the safest trip possible.
Research the limo company—Finding a reliable and trustworthy limousine company is crucial. Make sure you read all the reviews you can find online. And check their rating with the Better Business Bureau. Ask about the safety features of the vehicle, and ensure that it is fitted with seat belts. Verify that the driver is licensed and certified.
Wear seat belts—As mentioned, you should only ride in a limousine that has seat belts, and everyone in your group should wear them. It is not required for vehicles meant for more than 10 passengers to have seat belts, so be certain that your limo does. Never take your seat belt off while in the vehicle to move around, switch seats, or grab drinks or snacks.
Don’t overload the vehicle—Like any other vehicle, limousines have a maximum capacity for passengers. When you’re booking the limo, be sure to find one that can accommodate your party safely, meaning you fit comfortably and everyone has a seat belt.
Don’t distract the driver—Though limousines are often rented for exciting occasions, it’s important to keep the noise level down. A driver could have difficulty concentrating on the road or hearing their surroundings if your group is being too rowdy. Being respectful and subdued will keep you safer and the driver will certainly be appreciative.
Receiving Compensation with a Limousine Accident Lawyer
Being involved in a limo accident can be devastating. You may also be confused as to how to receive proper compensation for your injuries. A limousine accident lawyer can assist you in building a case against the negligent driver and/or the limousine company.
Medical bills—After an accident, it’s crucial that you receive a medical evaluation in order to get proper treatment as well as documentation of your injuries. When making a claim against a negligent driver or company, you can seek compensation for your medical bills so be sure to keep all your medical records relating to the crash.
Pain and suffering—A limousine accident can be a traumatizing event that leaves you with physical anguish and mental distress. When building a case, document the pain and suffering you experience. Describe to your limousine accident attorney how the accident has made a significant impact on your life, so this can be taken into account when calculating compensation.
Lost wages—An accident may put you out of work for an extended period of time. If your injuries leave you unable to work, record the days you miss and the amount of income lost due to this absence. This record will be a factor in determining your compensation and serve as proof of the devastation you’ve endured due to the accident.
Need a Limousine Accident Lawyer?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a limo accident, enlist the help of a trusted limousine accident lawyer. Donaghue and Labrum has extensive experience with car accident lawsuits and we have been proudly serving Delaware and Chester counties for over 25 years. Don’t hesitate—contact us today to set up a free consultation!