More often than not, you expect to feel luxurious and safe when you ride in a limousine. Limousines are a popular mode of transportation for special events such as weddings, prom parties, and corporate events. However, limousine accidents are more common than you might think.
The causes of these accidents vary, but the most common ones include distracted driving, speeding, driver fatigue, and mechanical failure. Additionally, the sheer size of these vehicles can make them difficult to maneuver, especially in tight spaces.
Every year, numerous accidents in Las Vegas involving limousines lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities. Due to the prolonged care that victims of catastrophic injuries need, the expenditures associated with caring for them are substantial. Nevada law allows you to bring a claim if you or a loved one is involved in a catastrophic limousine accident.
At the Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm, we will gather evidence to prove someone else’s negligence caused a limousine accident that caused your catastrophic accident. Contact us today to increase your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve.
What Catastrophic Limousine Accidents Involve
A catastrophic limousine accident results in serious injury or death. These accidents can occur for various reasons, including driver error, malfunctioning equipment, or poor road conditions. An injury from a limousine accident is considered catastrophic, depending on the severity of the injury and its impact on the victim’s life. Catastrophic injuries can include
- Traumatic brain injuries - Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can happen when the head hits a hard surface or is shaken violently, causing damage to the brain tissue. Symptoms can range from mild headaches and dizziness to severe cognitive impairments and comas.
- Spinal cord injuries - A spinal cord injury (SCI) occurs when there is damage to the spinal cord. Depending on the severity of your injury, symptoms can range from mild pain and numbness to complete paralysis.
- Severe burns - Severe burns, for example, third-degree ones, can occur in limousine accidents, especially in cases where the vehicle catches fire. They occur when the skin and underlying tissue are severely damaged, leading to charring and blackening of the skin. Third-degree burns can be excruciating, and victims may require extensive surgery and skin grafts to recover.
- Amputations - Amputation occurs when a limb is wholly or partially severed due to the force of the impact. Amputations can be devastating and can lead to permanent disability, making it difficult or impossible for victims to continue living their lives as they once did.
- Internal organ damages - Internal organ damage can happen due to blunt force trauma, which occurs when the body is suddenly stopped or jolted. Victims may require surgery or other medical interventions to recover, depending on the severity of the damage.
Usually, limousines have more weight than typical sedans. Therefore, stopping distances become longer, especially in an emergency. With the high speed of the limo and the fact that most passengers do not use seatbelts, you run the danger of having a catastrophic accident when riding in one.
Types of Catastrophic Limousine Accidents
You likely picture a luxurious ride to a fancy event when you think of limousines. However, not all limousine rides end in such a glamorous fashion. Catastrophic limousine accidents can happen, and they can be devastating. Various types of catastrophic limousine accidents include:
Like other car accident types, a head-on collision is common in limousine accidents. When two cars moving in opposite directions collide head-on, the impact is often severe and can result in a catastrophic accident. The force of the impact can cause severe injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and internal organ damage. Head-on collisions can occur for various reasons, including driver distraction, fatigue, or impairment.
Rear-end accidents involving limousines can be just as dangerous as head-on collisions. The limousine is usually hit from behind in these accidents, causing the vehicle to jolt forward. These types of accidents can happen in various situations, such as when a car suddenly stops, and the driver behind it cannot stop in time, or when a driver is distracted and does not notice that traffic has stopped. This sudden movement can cause whiplash and other injuries, especially if the passengers are not wearing their seatbelts.
Rollover collisions are another type of catastrophic limousine accident that can occur. These accidents usually happen when the driver loses control of the vehicle, and it flips over on the side or roof. Rollover collisions can occur in any car but are more commonly associated with narrower vehicles such as limousines and vans. These collisions can cause severe injuries, including broken bones, internal injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
Accidents Caused by Mechanical Damage
Limousines require regular maintenance to ensure that they are safe to operate. However, sometimes mechanical issues can arise, even with regular maintenance. If a limousine experiences mechanical damage while in motion, it can cause a catastrophic accident. Some common mechanical issues that can cause accidents include brake failure, tire blowouts, and steering system failures.
Side Impact Collisions
These collisions happen when one auto collides into the side of another. These types of accidents can be particularly dangerous for limousines, as they often have fewer safety features on the sides of the vehicle. In addition, the impact can cause the car to spin, increasing the risk of a rollover collision.
Common Causes of Catastrophic Limousine Accidents
In Nevada, several factors contribute to these accidents. The common causes of catastrophic limousine accidents include:
According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding accounted for over 9,378 deaths in 2018, representing 26% of all traffic fatalities in the United States. Limousine drivers risk passengers' lives when they exceed the stipulated speed limit. Overspeeding increases the likelihood of losing control of the limousine, causing a collision that could result in severe injuries or fatalities.
In 2018, distracted driving claimed 2,841 lives. Therefore, distracted driving is a dangerous habit that many drivers engage in. Limousine drivers are not immune to being distracted while driving. Due to distracted driving, many catastrophic limousine accidents occur in Las Vegas. Common distractions include texting, talking on the phone, eating, and adjusting the radio.
Sub-Standard Limousine Maintenance
Sub-standard limousine maintenance is another cause of catastrophic accidents in Las Vegas. Limousine companies are responsible for ensuring that their vehicles are safe and well-maintained. Failure to maintain the limousine can result in brake failure, tire blowouts, or other mechanical problems that can cause severe accidents. In fact, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), vehicle-related issues are responsible for over 50% of fatal crashes involving large trucks.
Limousine Operation by Unqualified Drivers
Inexperienced or unqualified drivers account for several catastrophic limousine accidents in Las Vegas. Before employing drivers, the law requires limousine companies to ensure that the employees are adequately trained and licensed to operate their vehicles. Hiring unqualified drivers can result in catastrophic accidents, especially when they lack the experience to navigate Las Vegas's busy roads.
Driver fatigue has been proven to be a major cause of catastrophic accidents on Nevada highways. Per the National Safety Council (NSC), driver fatigue causes over 100,000 accidents annually in the United States. Exhaustion impairs a driver's ability to concentrate, react quickly, and make sound decisions, increasing the likelihood of an accident.
Driving Under Intoxication
Nevada has, over the years, enacted stiff laws to curb the ever-rising alcohol- and drug-related crashes. The NHTSA reported that alcohol-related crashes claimed 10,511 lives in 2018. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a severe offense in Las Vegas.
The crime often results in catastrophic limousine accidents, causing loss of life and severe injuries. Alcohol and drugs impair a driver's judgment, coordination, and reaction time, increasing the likelihood of an accident.
Defective Limousine Parts
Limousine companies are responsible for ensuring their vehicles are fitted with quality parts that meet safety standards. Failure to do so can result in brake failure, tire blowouts, or other mechanical problems that can cause severe accidents.
Failing to Follow Traffic Rules
When it comes to operating a limousine, drivers need to follow traffic rules and regulations to ensure the safety of all passengers. Unfortunately, not all drivers adhere to these rules, which can lead to catastrophic accidents resulting in severe injuries or even death.
Failing to follow traffic signals and signs, such as running red lights or stop signs, speeding, or making illegal turns, could cause catastrophic accidents. These actions endanger passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians on the road.
How an Accident Lawyer Helps You With Your Case
What should your next steps be after being involved in a limousine accident that caused you a catastrophic injury? The ideal action is to seek a lawyer’s help who can assist in navigating the legal process. A car accident lawyer can help you in many ways, including the following:
- Your lawyer will investigate the accident to determine who is at fault. Also, they will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and review police reports to build a strong case on your behalf.
- Your attorney will evaluate the damages you suffered from the accident. This includes lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering. By calculating your losses, your attorney can determine the appropriate compensation you should receive.
- Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Insurers could attempt to offer a low settlement amount to save money, but your lawyer will fight for the compensation you deserve. They have experience dealing with insurance firms and can use their negotiation skills to obtain fair compensation.
- Your attorney will represent you in a court of law. They will present your case in court and argue. Your lawyer will use their experience to ensure your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
- Your accident lawyer will support and provide guidance throughout the process. The attorney understands that this can be a stressful and overwhelming time, and they will be there to answer your questions and address your concerns.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Limousine Accident Lawsuit?
When you're involved in a catastrophic limousine accident, you are entitled to damages from the party at fault. Damages are the monetary compensation you receive to cover your losses, including economic and non-economic damages. In some cases, you may also be entitled to punitive damages.
Economic damages refer to the monetary losses you suffer due to the accident. These damages are relatively easy to quantify and include the following:
- Medical expenses: You could recover the money you use during your medical treatment and any expenses associated with your recovery. These include hospital bills, doctor visits, prescription medication, physical therapy, and more.
- Lost income: If the accident causes you to lose work or source of income, you may be able to recover lost wages. This includes present and future lost income, bonuses, and benefits.
- Property damage: You may recover the cost of repairing or replacing any property damaged in the accident, including your limousine, personal belongings, and other property.
- Other expenses: Out-of-pocket expenses related to the collision, such as transportation costs to and from medical appointments and home healthcare services, could also be factored into your compensation claims.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify than economic damages because they refer to the subjective losses you suffer from the accident. These damages may include the following:
- Pain and suffering. This refers to the physical and emotional pain you experience from the accident. It includes the immediate pain you feel during the accident and any ongoing pain you experience during your recovery.
- Emotional distress: You can also obtain compensation for emotional distress, such as anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues caused by the limousine accident.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: If the accident limits your ability to enjoy life as before, you could receive compensation for this loss.
- Loss of consortium: This refers to the loss of companionship, affection, and support of a spouse or partner due to the accident.
In some situations, the court could award you punitive damages. These damages punish the party at fault for their reckless or intentional behavior. However, punitive damages are not meant to compensate you for any losses but rather to deter similar conduct in the future. These damages are relatively rare and are typically only awarded in cases of gross negligence or intentional harm.
Statute of Limitation to file a Catastrophic Limousine Accident Claim in Nevada
If you are involved in a catastrophic limousine accident in Nevada, there is a time limit for filing a claim. This time limit is called the statute of limitations and varies from state to state.
In Nevada, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim resulting from a limousine accident is generally two years from the accident date. If you file your claim within two years of the accident, you may retain your right to seek compensation for your injuries.
However, there may be exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations. For example, if the accident involved a government entity or an employee, the time limit to file a claim may be shorter. Also, you could extend the statute of limitations in certain circumstances, such as if you were a minor during the accident.
Establishing Liability in Limo Accidents
Liability in limousine accidents can be complex, as multiple parties could be involved. To determine who is liable, you must consider the actions of the following parties:
After a limousine accident, the driver is among the first parties to be scrutinized for liability. In many cases, driver error or negligence is the primary cause of the accident. For example, if the limousine driver drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the crash, they would likely be liable for any resulting injuries or fatalities. Similarly, if the driver was distracted by their phone, radio, or other passengers, they could also be found responsible for the accident.
Your lawyer can help establish liability for a limousine accident involving the driver. They could conduct a thorough investigation and gather evidence such as witness statements, police reports, and any available dashcam or surveillance footage.
Limousine Hiring Company
When a limousine company hires a driver, they are responsible for conducting a thorough background check on the individual. This includes checking their driving record, criminal record, and drug and alcohol history. If the limousine company fails to conduct a proper background check and hires a driver with a history of unsafe driving or drug and alcohol use, they may be held liable for any accidents that occur as a result of the driver's actions.
Additionally, the limousine company may be liable if they fail to train their drivers properly or if they encourage unsafe driving practices to meet tight schedules or make more money. For example, if a limousine company pressures its drivers to speed or drive for long periods without breaks, it may be held responsible for any accidents that occur as a result of the driver's exhaustion or reckless driving.
In some cases, the limousine company may also be held liable for negligent maintenance of their vehicles. This includes failing to properly inspect and maintain their limousines' brakes, tires, steering, and other essential systems. If a catastrophic accident occurs due to a mechanical failure that could have been prevented with proper maintenance, the limousine company may be liable for the resulting damages and injuries.
Limousine Maintenance Company
Limousine maintenance companies ensure that the vehicle is in good working condition before it is released on the road. If a maintenance company fails to identify a problem with the limo, it may be held liable for any resulting accidents. For instance, the maintenance company may be responsible for any damages if the limousine experiences brake failure and causes an accident.
You must show that the company was negligent in its duties before the court can award you damages. For example, if the maintenance company failed to inspect the brakes on the limo regularly or did not replace worn-out brake pads, it may be liable for the accident.
Liability may not always fall solely on the driver or the hiring company. Other motorists on the road can also be held liable for causing or contributing to the accident. For example, if a driver suddenly changes lanes without checking their blind spot and crashes into a limousine, they may be liable for any resulting injuries or damages.
Similarly, if a driver is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and causes a collision with a limousine, they can be held accountable for their actions. In this case, they may face criminal charges and a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for the victims.
Limo’s Manufacturer or Retailer
Limousine accidents can also be attributed to the vehicle's manufacturer and retailer. The manufacturer or retailer may be liable if the limousine has a defective part or design flaw contributing to the accident. For example, if the limousine's brakes fail and cause an accident, the manufacturer may be at fault for producing faulty brakes.
Sometimes, limousine companies modify their vehicles with aftermarket parts or accessories that can cause safety issues. The limousine company and the aftermarket part manufacturer may be liable if the modifications contribute to the accident.
The Road Maintenance Authority
If a catastrophic limousine accident happens due to poor road conditions, liability may fall on the government. Poor conditions include inadequate signage, poor road design, or failure to maintain the road surface.
For example, if a limousine loses control of a curve or bend because no warning sign indicates a steep incline, the authority tasked with maintaining roads could be liable. You must prove that the authority’s negligence was a proximate cause of your accident.
Steps to Take When Involved in a Catastrophic Limousine Accident
If you're involved in a catastrophic limousine accident, protect yourself and your legal rights by following the steps below:
Seek Medical Attention
Your priority should always be to seek medical attention for yourself and anyone else injured. Even if your injuries are minor, being checked out by a medical professional is essential. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and a medical evaluation can help you document any injuries you have sustained.
Call the Police
You want to call law enforcement officers to the scene of the collision. They will help document the accident, take statements from witnesses, and file a report. This report can be substantial evidence if you decide to pursue legal action.
While waiting for law enforcement officers to arrive, try to collect as much evidence as possible. Take photos and videos of the scene, including any vehicle damage and injuries sustained. Gather contact information from witnesses and the limousine driver. This evidence can prove liability and damages in a legal case.
Avoid Talking to Your Insurance Company
After the accident, you may receive calls from insurance companies asking for a statement about the accident. Insurance companies are not on your side and could try to use your words against you. You have the right to refuse to speak with them and refer them to your attorney.
Consult With a Personal Injury Lawyer
Speaking with a qualified attorney specializing in catastrophic limousine accidents is essential. They can help you navigate the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Feel free to seek legal representation as soon as possible after the accident. The sooner you have an attorney on your side, the better your chance of achieving a favorable outcome.
Find a Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyer Near Me
When you are involved in a limousine accident and suffer catastrophic injuries, the aftermath may significantly impact you. You have the right to pursue compensation from the responsible party to support new needs for a full recovery and continuation of your life.
We at the Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm are ready to offer you expert legal counsel and support throughout your compensatory litigation. We aim to ensure you are fairly compensated for the catastrophic injury you sustained in the limousine accident. Any Las Vegas limousine accident victim is welcome to speak to us. Contact us at 702-576-0010 right away.