Many accident attorneys in the state of California are not specialists in limousine law. In fact, many SEO people copied our info so they could pretend the lawyers they work for get it. Also, these lawyers have no clue about the vast amount of legal issues that come along with transportation carrier laws. Hence, these injury lawyers don’t have the experience necessary in cases like this. So they can leave a lot of money on the table owed their clients.
Ehline Law is different. Our head attorney, Michael Ehline had owned a limo business before he was an attorney. He not only knows the law codes and precedents but knows the business inside and out. In fact, Michael was the personal driver for comedian Rodney Dangerfield. So he had to know it to comply with state and federal livery laws – a large advantage for any client facing such an injury.
More About this Specialized Area of Tort Law.
Limousines, limo buses, and charter party carriers usually get treated the same under the law. Also, they are legally allowed to provide alcohol to passengers while the vehicle rolls. Often, charter limos have full wet bars in the back of their transports. But this can be a severe problem when hired for a high school prom or Quinceanera.
Because of this, minors have access to that booze. So the limo operator needs to stow the alcohol in the trunk. Recently, an intoxicated woman jumped out of a moving limo on the freeway. In another case, several got killed in a publicized rear passenger compartment fire. Michael Ehline was interviewed in that case here.
Another possibility comes from Michael Ehline, an attorney specializing in limousine law.
‘He wonders if the air bladders keeping the tires from scraping against the wheel wells in the 14-year-old limousine might have deflated.
“What will happen is those rear tires can scrape against the rear wheel wells and remember tires are made out of petroleum products. Once it gets to flashpoint the tire will literally ignite and that heat build up next to that gas tank can actually ignite that gas tank,” Ehline said.’
Limo companies and other common carriers have a higher duty of care. So they must go beyond what an average, non-licensed person would do when driving a friend home. These companies have a special duty to prevent issues, such as:
Limo companies owe that heightened duty of care, or a “special duty” to prevent things like:
- Motorcycle accidents can be caused by blind spots on a limo, causing severe injury or death to the cycle rider.
- Bicycle accidents are very similar to motorcycle accidents. Also, they can cause deglove injuries or amputation.
- Car accidents can cause sheet metal in a passenger car to break apart. In turn, this can sliver in a collision with a large limo. So this can cut victims’ bodies with lacerations. Also, it can cause passengers to be tossed out of the vehicle if not buckled.
- Pedestrian accidents with victims getting hit in a crosswalk can lead to friction burns, road rash, or worse.
- Limo overcrowding accidents get seen in more detail below. But too heavy a vehicle with too many people inside can cause increased accidents.
- Limos operating within California get regulated by the Public Utilities Commission or PUC. Also, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) enforces regulations. But all interstate transportation gets governed by the federal Department of Transportation or DOT.
If you or a loved one has become injured due to a limousine crash, a specialized attorney becomes needed. Also, his is because of the complexity of the case. California livery law is a whole body of commercial rules and regulations. So it focuses on dealing with vehicles carrying multiple passengers. The livery laws apply to limos the same way it did with the boarding and care of horses in the past. Today, it deals with larger vehicles, including limos, buses, and boats. (Free Dictionary.)
What the California Legislature and DMV say About Limousine Law & Regulations.
Relevant California limousine law:
“SECTION 1. Section 27315 of the California Vehicle Code is amended to read: 27315. (a(2) The operator of a limousine for hire or the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 165, shall not operate the limousine for hire or authorized emergency vehicle unless the operator and any passengers four years of age or over and weighing 40 pounds or more, in the front seat are properly restrained by a safety belt. . .”
“(f) Every owner of a motor vehicle, including every owner or operator of a taxicab, as defined in Section 27908, or a limousine for hire, operated on a highway shall maintain safety belts in good working order for the use of occupants of the vehicle. The safety belts shall conform to motor vehicle safety standards established by the United States Department of Transportation. This subdivision does not, however, require installation or maintenance of safety belts where not required by the laws of the United States applicable to the vehicle at the time of its initial sale.”
Multiple types of vehicles, including charter buses, sightseeing buses, limos, airport buses, mass transit buses can be limousines. But school buses, and others all have the potential to be held to higher standards of care when transporting passengers. Our attorneys have experience in the field. Hence, we can assist the victim in working through the medical and legal issues commonly following an accident of this type. Also, the DMV can check on particulars of the law at (916) 657-8153 or visit its Web site at www.dmv.ca.gov.
More About Common Carrier Liability and Its Significance.
Under ordinary negligence principles, a person is negligent if he owed duties of “reasonable care.” Also, that duty had to get breached. Next, the breach had to cause damages like broken bones, a type of orthopedic injury. Sometimes a “reasonable” duty of care is harder to prove. But if a person is a common carrier, it owes a heightened duty of attention. This is beyond an ordinary, “reasonable” duty. So this makes it harder for the negligent tortfeasor to escape liability. Thus, at summary judgment the case moves forward. So this allows a jury to hear the matter.
Common carrier liability can sidestep a common refrain from insurance companies. These Fortune 500 companies love to argue that a limo case is a junk lawsuit. But according to the California Supreme Court, even rides can be common carriers. For example, the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland is subject to common carrier liability. This also is seen in Gomez v. The Walt Disney Co., WL 1404420 (Cal. June 16, 2005). Any “carrier of persons for reward,” must use the utmost care and diligence for safe carriage. So they must provide everything necessary for that purpose.
Also, they must exercise to that end a reasonable degree of skill. As quoted from the Cal. Civ. Code Sec. 2100, Carriers must “provide vehicles safe and fit for the purpose to which they are put.” Also, it does not get excused for default in this respect by any degree of care. (Cal. Civ. Code Sec. 2101.) In short, a common carrier is a “carrier of persons for reward.”
Under state law, common carriers include limo companies. Hence, they have to maintain physical damage coverage. Also, they may need general liability coverage and worker’s compensation coverage. Furthermore, they may need garage liability coverage, and garage keeper’s legal liability coverage. Last, some may have to purchase excess/umbrella liability coverage, property coverage among others.
As of 2006, except Class C charter-party carriers, limos must maintain specific insurance coverages. So they need at least $750,000 for seven passengers or less. Furthermore, they will need $1,500,000 for 8 to 15 passengers. Also, they will need $5,000,000 for 16 passengers or more. The minimum coverage for Class C charter-party carriers is $750,000. This is true regardless of vehicle seating capacity. For additional information see General Order 101. This is as applicable to PSCs or General Order 115, as applies to TCPs.
Common Carriers must file evidence of insurance coverage in the state of California. Minimum limits vary by type of carrier and other factors. Proof of coverage must get filed with the California Public Utilities Commission, or PUC. Any for-hire passenger carrier that has employee chauffeurs must present coverage proof on demand. For example, they must provide evidence of worker’s compensation coverage.
So they must file a certificate of insurance (Commission form TL-938) or a certificate of consent to self-insure. This gets issued by the Department of Industrial Relations. Minimum coverage limits are available in the PUC general orders. They can get seen in the General Orders, for example, General Order 115.
California Limousines Get Regulated By Several Government Agencies Depending on Intrastate or Interstate Regulations
The DMV and PUC differentiate between “PSG” and “MTR” classes. Motor carriers of passengers are known as PSG regs. But Motor Carriers of Property get called MTR. Common Carriers go by the designations PSC– by passenger stage corporations. But there is also TCP– by charter-party carriers or Cal-T– by household goods carriers. Also, this can get seen on vehicle bumpers. And this helps the CHP keep track of these differing types.
In most cases, passenger transports for hire must get approved and permitted by the PUC. But several companies are exempt from this. So taxi and ambulance services are locally regulated. This is located in Public Utilities Code Sections 226 and 5353. The PUC issues PSC permits/certificates and charter-party carrier/TCP permits/certificates.
These are different from each other in many ways. A PSC allows transportation services to the general public on a fare basis. The PSC operator usually works a “fixed” route. So they normally have a regular schedule, such as airport shuttles. TCP charters, as most limos are, are usually prearranged. Usually, they are exclusive and akin to a private party. These are also round trip, such as in wine tasting tours.
An MC number is a requirement for interstate transportation. Federal law mandates such a permit get issued before a limousine carrier can leave the jurisdiction of California, as often seen on trips to Las Vegas.
The Aftermath of a Limousine Accident.
When faced with a limo accident leading to injury, you must understand what you may recover. Most of all, you can get lost wages and money for mental anguish. This also includes compensation for physical pain and suffering. So this includes emotional distress and medical bills. Also, in extraordinary situations, you can even get punitive damages.
Steps to Take in a Limo Case.
First, the police must know to create a record and take witness statements. But you must avoid speaking with an insurance company while unrepresented. Adjusters are famous for trying to use it against you. Hence, they can twist your words into saying that you were not hurt or that you were responsible. But do take an ambulance to the hospital to get x-rays, an MRI, and full physical examination. Don’t wait for the situation to get worse. Getting a swift medical checkup will also create firm evidence.
If faced with assault or sexual assault, make sure you get a police report. Next, contact an attorney immediately. Also, it would be wise to speak to the skilled lawyers at Ehline Law. No matter what, when faced with a limousine accident, contact experienced trial attorneys. Our lead attorney, Michael Ehline, has experience from owning and operating a limo company. So he brings the knowledge necessary to take your claim to victory. We fight for our clients to help right this terrible situation.
Hire the Best Limousine Accident Attorneys Now!
There’s a reason many people consider us California’s best limousine accident attorneys. These accidents occur coming back or forth from proms, parties, weddings, or other events. So knowledge of the laws and regulations from the PUC and DOT is vital in getting your life back on track. Call us for a free consultation today at (213) 596-9642.