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Lessons Learned from Fatal Accident


Fatal Crash Investigation 

By now most readers have heard about the major limousine accident in New York state. This truly horrific crash caused the death of 17 passengers, the driver and two pedestrians. This fatal accident is now under investigation by the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) which has sent a “go team” to determine the cause. The NTSB investigates only the most serious of accidents. The limo was carrying some young couples and others to a birthday party. What is a senseless loss of life, teaches important lessons for all of us. When we get into a cab or an Uber or Lyft vehicle, or when we hire a limo for that special prom or party, we need to know the driver and the vehicle are safe. And if we do not feel safe, or have concerns, we need to follow those instincts.

According to CNN and other news outlets, the vehicle failed inspection in September. This stretch limo had been altered to carry more passengers. The limo was not supposed to be on the road at all. This limo had been recently inspected by the New York State Department of Transportation. After that inspection, the limo was grounded by authorities as unsafe and unfit for travel. The brakes and braking system had been found in the past to be in need of repair for various reasons. The braking system will be one of the key factors in this crash. The limo sped down a hill and perhaps the driver applied the brakes, but they might have failed. The first party bus rented by this group of friends had broken down. The company apparently sent the limo that was involved in the accident. But it was not safe to drive. The owner of the limo company has now been charged with criminally negligent homicide in New York state for the loss of life.

Driver Not Properly Licensed 

It was also reported that the driver did not have the proper commercial license to drive this vehicle. He should have had a commercial license with a passenger endorsement. Like New York, Georgia’s commercial drivers licenses require a different level of skill and examination than general drivers licenses. This is because drivers will be carrying many passengers and are more highly regulated than other licensed drivers. We don’t know if the crash was the fault of the driver, or if there was a mechanical problem, such as a brake failure. The vehicle sped down a hill, hit two pedestrians at the bottom of the hill and then rolled over an embankment. No one in the limo survived this crash.

Reports indicate that passengers were texting about problems with the vehicle during the ride. One said that the motor was so loud, they would be “deaf” by the time they reached their destination, a brewery where they planned to celebrate a birthday of one of the friends.

There is one lesson that we can take away from this tragedy. If a driver arrives to pick you up for a ride and you do not feel comfortable with that driver, don’t accept the ride. I know of one situation in which a friend was waiting for a limo at an airport and when it arrived, one of the tires was clearly failing. The friend refused to get into the vehicle, despite the driver’s repeated insistence that she get into the car. If you get into a vehicle that you do not believe is safe, ask the driver to stop and pull over. The passengers who are now silenced in this crash, apparently had concerns about the limo’s safety. Arriving safely is more important than getting to the party. Had only one of them asked the driver to pull over, they might be alive now.

Legal Remedies for Survivors of Fatal Crash Victims 

A car accident or truck accident that involves loss of life can lead to a Georgia wrongful death claim. It is very possible that family members will file such actions in their state against the limo company and its owners for the loss of life involved. Children have now been left orphaned in this tragedy and they will need help. The company’s insurance carrier, assuming they had insurance, will also be involved.

Fatal car or truck accidents require legal expertise. Scholle Law and our team of legal professionals are experts in cases involving complex issues, such as wrongful death and vehicle malfunction. We can help families cope with the aftermath of a tragedy like the one that took so many young lives. Contact our law firm for help. We can talk with you at no cost to you. And you will not pay us for our services, until we win for you.