San Diego Limousine Accident Attorney
Limousines are a picture of luxury, comfort, and pleasure. Rarely are they associated with disasters, but as a Californian, you likely remember tragic limo accidents in the news, like the limousine fire on the San Mateo Bridge in 2013. More recently, a major limo wreck in New York state killed 20, making it one of the deadliest crashes in US history.
If you yourself or someone you love has been hurt in a limo crash, the physical, financial, and emotional impact is probably overwhelming. It’s not just a regular car accident. You likely hired the limo for a happy occasion – perhaps a wedding, prom, birthday, or a tour – and getting hurt in a disaster was probably the last thing you expected.
Know that the law may be on your side and you may be entitled to compensation. We at Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers are ready to guide you to your best options and help you obtain what you deserve under the law.
Defining A “Limousine” In California
According to the California Vehicle Code, a limousine is a car with a seating capacity of up to 10 passengers (including the driver) and used to transport people on a pre-arranged for-hire basis. This car can be a sedan or an SUV; regular size or stretch limo. It can also be modified or extended, as long as its capacity does not exceed 10 occupants.
Based on this definition, the main difference between a limo and a taxicab is that limos are hired in advance while taxis can simply be hailed while it is on the road.
Common Carrier Responsibility Of Limousines
In California, a limousine operator is legally considered a “common carrier,” referring to its function to transport people in exchange for money. Because common carriers serve the public, they have to uphold a higher standard of care. In other words, they must abide by more rules than regular private cars.
This also means that in a limousine accident, victims may have several opportunities or avenues to legally claim compensation. For instance, they may be able to claim against the limousine owner or operator even if he or she was not physically present in the accident.
Laws For Limousines, Limo Drivers, And Limo Operators In CA
Before hiring a limousine service, it is best to check whether the vehicle, the driver, and the operator are compliant with the special California laws that apply to them. Reviewing these rules is also crucial after an accident. In fact, we find that in many limousine accident cases, there was some form of violation against operating laws and safety regulations, often contributing to the accident itself.
Here are some of these rules in California:
Special Operating Requirements
Limousine operators, whether companies or individuals hiring out their cars, are administered by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Before they can conduct business, they must obtain a permit from this commission.
A common CPUC license is called the Transport Charter Party (TCP) Carrier Permit P. Requirements for this license include insurance, drug and alcohol testing program, and a completed motor carrier profile.
Vehicle Safety Requirements
After the 2013 limo tragedy, California law has required stretch limousine operators or owners to retrofit their limos accordingly:
- If the limo has a fifth door, it should have either a rooftop escape hatch OR two certified pop-out window emergency exits.
- If the limo does not have a fifth door, it should have both a rooftop escape hatch AND two certified pop-out window emergency exits.
Vehicle Safety Inspections
Limousines are subject to inspections by the California Highway Patrol. Vehicles that do not pass this inspection cannot be on the road.
Driving License Requirements
Under the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), a car with 10 or fewer passengers, such as a limousine, does not require a special driving license. However, drivers should still have their regular driver’s license to operate the vehicle.
Legal Remedies For Limo Accident Victims In California
Even though we practice great care in choosing and hiring a limousine service, unfortunate accidents sometimes happen due to the negligent actions of others. If you suspect that negligence was involved in your limo accident, don’t hesitate to talk to an attorney to get to the bottom of your case.
Remember that negligence may not just be on the part of the limousine driver. The limo operator may also be held accountable if they acted irresponsibly. For example, they may have allowed an unlicensed driver to work, or provided you with a vehicle that failed a safety inspection. Very often, limo accident cases involve claims not just against the driver but also against the operator.
Claiming against all liable parties is important in obtaining your maximum compensation. You may be entitled to payments not only for your medical bills, but also for other losses such as rehabilitation or therapy, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Consider also your emotional suffering – the nightmare of your accident may have had a greater emotional impact considering that you hired the limo for what was supposed to be a pleasant occasion.
To help you determine your maximum compensation, identify all liable parties, and assert what you rightfully deserve, enlist a reliable accident attorney on your side.
Choose Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers
Whether you are still trying to decide your best course of action, or you are already intent on pursuing a claim, contact us at Hamparyan. Clients from all over the San Diego County and beyond area have trusted us as their ally, for these reasons and more:
- You get highly effective legal service. Our success rate is 98 percent, making us one of San Diego’s most effective firms. We’ve recovered over $200 million for our clients, including more than 40 individual cases that settled at $1 million and above.
- You risk nothing with our no-fee guarantee. You’re already saddled with medical bills, so legal costs should be the last of your worries. We understand this. You don’t have to pay us any lawyer fees unless and until we obtain an amount for you.
- Compassionate treatment to help you cope. Insurance claims and legal actions can be stressful, especially after an accident. While our lawyers are tough when it comes to handling the case, when it comes to you, everyone on our team makes it a point to be understanding and approachable. Our former clients can attest that this kind of service has helped them deal with the aftermath of their accidents.
Consult With Us For A Free Consultation
Your initial consultation with us is absolutely free and confidential. We can even visit you at home or at a hospital if needed. Let’s talk about your limousine accident. Call us anytime at (619) 550-1355 or use our online contact form.
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