A limo ride can be a fun and luxurious experience — until things suddenly go awry. Far too many people each year are involved in completely preventable limousine accidents. If you or your loved was hurt in a New Orleans limo accident, call Cueria Law Firm today to speak to a knowledgeable injury lawyer: 888-479-0220.
What are the most common causes of limo accidents?
Rear-ending, sideswiping, and hitting fixed objects are three common types of limo accidents, but the causes of limo accidents are as varied as they are for passenger car accidents.
For instance, the aforementioned driver of the Wisconsin limo accident claimed the sunlight blinded him, which caused him to wreck into a wall. (While this could be true, he was also underage and unlicensed.) In the July 2015 accident, an intoxicated truck driver struck the limo as the limo driver was making a U-turn.
A few other causes of limo accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Limo drivers who have not received enough training to be able to safely maneuver the vehicle
- Failing to follow basic traffic rules
Who is liable for the limousine accident?
Louisiana is a fault car insurance state, which means that the party who caused the accident will be liable for the damages. If you were in a limo accident, the first thing your attorney will have to determine is which party was most responsible for the collision. Who acted negligently?
Negligence will usually lie with the limo driver or one of the following.
- Another driver: If another driver collided with the limo or caused the limo to wreck, you will file an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
- Manufacturer: If the accident resulted from an auto part defect, such as with the brakes, then the brake or limo manufacturer might be liable.
- Limo company: If the limo driver’s or the company’s negligence caused your injury, then the limo company will be responsible for your damages (We discuss limo company liability more in the next section.)
- Government agency: If defective roadways caused the accident, then the government agency in charge of the roads might be liable.
Can I hold the limo driver personally responsible for my damages?
With limo accidents, liability will usually fall upon the company, not the driver. This is because of Louisiana’s respondeat superior doctrine, detailed in Louisiana Laws Civil Code 2320. The doctrine essentially provides that employers are automatically responsible for their employees’ actions. It states: “Masters and employers are answerable for the damage occasioned by their servants and overseers, in the exercise of the functions in which they are employed.”
In other words, if the limo driver was in the midst of performing work duties and caused a wreck, the employer must legally suffer the consequences. Respondeat superior makes good sense, too. After all, limousine companies have a legal duty to screen potential workers and only employ safe, trustworthy drivers. And, by the same token, drivers should not have to worry about personal liability when they are merely doing their job.
There is an exception, though. If the driver was acting outside the scope of his employment or was engaged in criminal activity, e.g., drinking and driving, then you might be able to sue the driver directly, as well. Upon review of your accident, your Cueria Law Firm attorney will determine which party(ies) you may be able to hold liable and the best route in which to pursue compensation.
What kinds of damages can I recover from a limo accident claim?
If you were hurt as a passenger in a limo accident, you can demand payment for all of your injury-related damages, including for both monetary and non-monetary losses. Your attorney will help you compile a detailed list of expenses you have and will incur as a result of the accident, as well as the overall amount of lost income you will be able to expect due to your injuries/disability. S/he can also speak with you, your family, and your mental health expert to get a good feel for how the accident has affected you and your family emotionally. Pain, suffering, and emotional losses are compensable, too.
Some of the damages you can recover include those for:
- Medical and rehabilitation bills, and the cost of transportation for your medical appointments
- Prescriptions, surgeries, and ongoing treatments
- Lost wages, lost capacity to work, loss of benefits, and loss of promotion
- Permanent disability
- Costs of house modifications to accommodate your disability (e.g., wheelchair ramps, widening doorways)
- The cost of hiring help to do tasks you normally would do
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Emotional pain and disorders
- The effect of your injuries on your marriage, social life, and sense of well-being
If the driver acted especially recklessly, such as in the case of drunk driving, the court might award you with additional punitive damages. The court awards these damages to punish the wrongdoer for his actions and discourage future misconduct, not to repay the plaintiff. The court will add any punitive damages it awards you to the settlement for your compensatory damages.
If you are suing the liable party for your loved one’s wrongful death in a limo accident, you can recover damages for:
- Funeral expenses
- Lost wages your loved one would have contributed
- Loss of household services
- Loss of consortium
- Medical bills your loved one incurred prior to death
- The loss of care, companionship, and guidance you and your family would have enjoyed had your loved one lived
For help with your limo accident wrongful death claim, call an attorney from Cueria Law Firm.
How do I begin taking legal action after a New Orleans limo accident?
The first step in taking legal action after a limo accident is to speak to an injury attorney about your case. These types of cases can become complicated and contentious in a hurry, and having legal representation can prove invaluable.
You are welcomed to contact our firm and speak to one of our lawyers, free of charge. When you discuss your case with us, one of our attorneys will listen to your story, consider the facts of accident, and explain your rights and responsibilities in simple terms. We can walk you through the process step-by-step, from the initial investigation to negotiating a settlement.
After identifying the liable party, your lawyer can help file the claim or lawsuit, compile evidence to support your case, and then proceed to fight for a full and fair settlement for you. Call Cueria Law Firm at 888-479-0220 to speak with an injury attorney in New Orleans today.