Thinking about renting a limo while you’re in Las Vegas? Limos are a popular way to get around town while treating yourself to a glamorous experience, especially if you’re headed to prom, a bachelor or bachelorette party, or a wedding. But these large vehicles aren’t as indestructible as they may appear, and it’s important to recognize some of the dangers associated with riding in a limousine.
Accidents Due to Limo’s Size
We’ve talked about some of the most common types of limousine accidents on this blog before. Unsurprisingly, three of the most frequent kinds of limo accidents are related at least in part to the vehicle’s size. Rear-end accidents account for 1 in 4 of all limo accidents, most likely because these vehicles cannot come to a stop as quickly as a smaller car or motorcycle if traffic suddenly slows or if the driver only notices a stopped vehicle in front of them at the last second. Sideswipes are also fairly common, occurring when a driver misjudges the car’s size, turn radius, or blind spots.
Parking lot accidents are another issue, as limousines often have trouble navigating tight spaces. While these types of accidents might sound relatively minor, they can still cause serious injuries, especially if passengers aren’t wearing seat belts. Passengers don’t always recognize that they’ve been hurt at first but may discover weeks later that they are experiencing lingering back pain, neck pain, or other injuries from the accident.
Mechanical errors can occur in any vehicle, even one as glamorous as a limo. Two tragic accidents in 2013 highlighted some of the defects and maintenance issues that can affect limousines. In the first accident, a limo carrying nine members of a bachelorette party caught fire when the vehicle’s rear suspension failed, causing the rapidly spinning drive shaft to hit the floor pan. The passenger area of the car began filling up with smoke and flames that blocked the rear doors. Five passengers, including the bride-to-be, died.
Only a month after that accident, a 24-year-old man died in an accident on a party bus that he and his friends had rented to celebrate a birthday. When the vehicle shifted, the young man was thrown against a door which fell open and sent him flying onto LA’s 101 Freeway. The doors were supposed to stay locked when the vehicle was in motion, but investigation revealed that there had been a mechanical error, and that the party bus had been ordered out-of-service for repeatedly failing inspections (the owners had ignored that order).
Unregistered Limo Companies and Unlicensed Drivers
Another major risk with limousines is that they are uninsured or that their drivers are unlicensed. An unlicensed driver will likely lack the experience and skill necessarily to drive this large commercial vehicle, and if you’re involved in an accident in an uninsured limo, you may have a difficult time recovering the compensation that you need to pay for your medical expenses. Many of these unregistered limo companies are also lenient when it comes to enforcing safety measures; for example, they may not provide enough seat belts for all passengers or perform regular maintenance checks.
You might think that it’s rare to come across an unregistered limo company or a limo driver without a commercial license, but that’s not the case. One reporter from Good Morning America shadowed Virginia DMV special agents one night as they checked 29 limos and discovered that nine were in violation.
Keep Yourself Safe When Renting a Limo
The best way to keep yourself safe if you do decide to rent a limo is to make sure that the limo company is registered and insured and that your chauffeur has a clean driving record. Look up the company in the Better Business Bureau and also check to see if they’re a member of a local limousine association or the National Limousine Association.
Don’t hesitate to ask the limo company about its driver screening process and how long your driver has been working for them. You should also check the actual vehicle you plan to rent to ensure that it has enough seat belts for all the passengers as well as up-to-date inspection stickers. When you rent the vehicle, make sure the transaction is in writing and read the paperwork carefully to ensure that you understand important things like the company’s insurance and cancellation policies.
If you are injured in a limo, whether it’s licensed or unlicensed, contact a limousine accident attorney in Las Vegas as soon as possible. Accidents happen, but when they’re caused by a negligent driver or limo company, you deserve to be compensated.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Lawlor Winston White & Murphey. He Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of The Law Office of Andrew Winston. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and was recently voted by his peers as a Florida “SuperLawyer”-an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state-and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite.”