A New York State lawmaker is pushing for a law that would significantly increase the minimum insurance requirements that upstate limousine companies have on their vehicles. According to a report in the Albany Times Union, this bill comes after the tragic Oct. 6 limousine accident in the upstate town of Schoharie in which 20 people died. The unauthorized limo was carrying 17 passengers on a birthday celebration from Amsterdam to Cooperstown when it ran a stop sign at the bottom of a steep hill at the intersection of Route 30 and Route 30A and ended up in a ravine next to a store.
All 17 passengers and the driver as well as two bystanders died as a result of injuries suffered in the crash. It is not clear what insurance coverage the limo had. The vehicle was owned by Prestige Limousine of Wilton. At the time, the company had not sought the necessary authorization from the New York Department of Motor Vehicles to operate the vehicle for hire.
Current Insurance Coverage Insufficient
The company’s insurance coverage on the vehicle had also been repeatedly canceled in the months leading up to the crash during a time when the stretch 2001 Ford Excursion failed three roadside state inspections. The insurance cancellations also led the DMV to revoke the limo’s registration several times. The limo’s insurance policy was reinstated just a day before the fatal crash, according to DMV records obtained by the Times Union.
Currently, the state does not distinguish between cars and limos when it comes to insurance minimums to cover fatalities or injuries. That amounts to just $100,000 in coverage for death of one person or more. The new proposed bill would set the minimum payout at $1.5 million for injuries or death to one or more people in a limousine, which is defined as a livery with eight or more passengers. The legislation would also mandate limo owners to hand in their plates as soon as coverage lapses.
In New York City, limousines that can carry between 9 and 15 passengers require the same amount of insurance coverage while super-stretch limos such as the one involved in the Schoharie crash are required to carry $5 million in insurance coverage. Federal law requires $1.5 million coverage for limos traveling interstate and carrying 14 people or less, and $5 million for limos carrying 15 passengers or more.
Understanding Your Rights
In fatal car accident cases, families may be able to file wrongful death lawsuits against at-fault parties involved seeking compensation for damages such as lost future income, medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and pain and suffering. Wrongful death lawsuits are typically brought by immediate family members of victims such as a spouse, children (minor or adult), parents, siblings, or any other individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased individual at the time.
If you have lost a loved one in an auto accident, please do not talk to insurance companies or the defense counsel for another involved party. It would be in your best interest not to post any information about the incident on your social media page because anything you post online may be used against you. Please contact a personal injury lawyer who will advise you regarding the best course of action.
Contacting an Experienced Limo Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a limousine accident, or if you have lost a loved one in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
For over 49 years, our skilled accident attorneys have established a proven track record of helping injured victims get fair compensation for their losses. Our law firm recently recovered $5,600,000 for a bicyclist who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car, and the full $1,000,000 insurance policy for a pedestrian who was hit by a truck, and $4,625,000 for a driver who was in a car and was hit by a van, and $2,500,000 for a man who fell through an improperly secured hole.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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