While a limousine ride may seem like a fun and safe way to be transported in Seattle or Kirkland for a special event, the reality is that sometimes these rides can turn into deadly rides. Limo accidents can lead to very serious injuries in those who ride them. The most common reasons limo accidents occur are the following:
- The vehicle has a poor maintenance record
- The driver is distracted or fatigued
- The driver is not properly trained in how to operate a limo
- The driver is on drugs or has consumed too much alcohol
All of these reasons, and there are more, can be contributing causes in limo accidents. There are two scenarios regarding accidents. The first is where you are hit by a limo driver. If this unfortunate event occurs to you, then you have the right to sue the driver’s company for your damages. This case would be no different than if you were injured in a car crash with another vehicle.
The second scenario is if you are ae limo driver and another car hits you. If you are working at the time of your injury, meaning you are driving someone, then you have two claims you can pursue. The first is a Labor and Industries claim, known as a L&I claim, which is where L&I will pay your medical bills and a percentage of your wage loss if you are not able to work because of your injuries. The second is a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and these two claims, one with L&I and the other with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, can run simultaneously with each other.Washington State Limousine Accident Laws
In Washington State, in order for a limo to be on the road, the limousine must have at least $1,050,000 in insurance coverage. This means that if you are in an accident with a limo, and if the insurance for the limo is the above-stated amount, legally that is all the insurance company for the limo has to pay out on any one injury claim. It is possible that the limo may have more insurance coverage available, but this is on a case by case basis.
A limousine may be any of the following:
- Stretch limo: this is for a car that can seat between 4-14 people and has a max wheelbase for 285 inches.
- Executive sedan: this is a four-door car that seats no more than three people and has a max wheelbase of 114.5 inches.
- Executive van: this kind of vehicle can accommodate 7-14 people and may be a minibus as well.
- Classic car: to be considered “classic” under Washington State law, the car has to be at least 30 years old and must be a luxury car.
- Executive SUV: this kind of vehicle has 3-6 passengers and has a max wheelbase of 116 inches
- Stretch SUV: this kind of vehicle has 4-14 passengers and a max wheelbase of 325 inches.
There are also strict requirements for chauffeurs who drive limos in the industry. For instance, in order to be a chauffeur, the driver:
- Must be 21 years or older
- Have a Washington State driver’s license that is valid
- Participates and passes random drug tests
- Has a good driving record
- Passed a National Safety Council Defensive Course that is at least four hours long
- Has a background check done by the Washington State Patrol.
- Has a medical certificate that states the chauffeur is in good physical shape, which must be done every two years.
These requirements are essential and violations of these standards are often the reason that people get into accidents with limos.Common Limousine Accident Injuries
If you have been in a limo accident, your injuries are likely serious enough that you have to seek medical care from a provider. Such a provider could include a medical doctor, a chiropractor, massage therapist, or physical therapist. The most common injuries are:
- Broken bones
Seeking medical attention after a limo accident is very important and should be the first priority after it is clear everyone is safe and out of harm’s way from the accident.How The Jackman Law Firm can Help
While it may not seem like it initially, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is not always there to look out for your best interests. The insurance company may be pressuring you into settling your claim before it is time to settle. It may be premature to settle your claim because you are still treating for your injuries. Once you are done treating for your injuries, and once you are ready to negotiate with the at fault driver’s insurance company, here are the things an attorney can help you recover for your injuries:
- Money for your medical bills
- Money for pain and suffering
- Money for lost wages
- Money for out of pocket expenses
By law, you are allowed to recover these things. Washington State does not have punitive damages, which is money designed to punish a defendant for wrongdoing. In addition, the Jackman Law Firm can help prove your case if you have been alleged to have been partly responsible for the accident. The Jackman Law Firm can send subpoenas, interview witnesses, and speak to the police.
Feel free to call The Jackman Law Firm for a free consultation if you have questions about your case.