Schoharie, NY Limousine Crash
On Sunday, October 7, 2018, in Schoharie, New York, a limousine lost control and struck an empty car. The crash killed all 18 people in the limo and two pedestrians. Schoharie, New York is a tiny town in upstate New York, 40 miles west of Albany.
According to a witness, the limo was coming downhill at over 60 miles per hour before the accident. The hill is notoriously dangerous, according to local residents. This is the nation’s deadliest transportation accident since a 2009 plane crash new Buffalo, NY that killed 50 people.
The New York Timesinterviewed the National Transportation Safety Board, which is launching a comprehensive investigation. Among the victims were two pairs of newlyweds and parents of young children, including a 16-month old. Family and friends of victims have already created a GoFundMe page to cover expenses.
N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement. Reportedly, transportation officials have tried to fix the notoriously dangerous spot. Locals have said that tractor-trailer vehicles have had accidents in the same intersection before.
Limousine and party buses are often used by wedding parties, business people, and teenagers for proms. The companies which own limos and party buses must abide by strict safety standards. Failure to do so will result in liability if an accident occurs and the occupants are injured in a limo or party bus.
Officials said state law requires front-seat passengers in limos to wear seat belts, but not back-seat passengers. Police would not say whether they know if anyone in the limo were wearing a seat belt.
Limo and party bus crashes can occur for many reasons, including:
- Speeding or unsafe driving of any kind
- Driving under the influence [DWI or DUI] In cases of death, this can lead to a Felony DUI Charge.
- Negligent hiring practices or training by the limousine company
- Lack of Sleep, Sleep Deprivation because of the grueling schedule, Driver fatigue
- Aggressive Driving
- Improper or lack of maintenance or repairs
- Defective manufacturing
- Overcrowding of Limousines
Party buses and limos are known under the law as “common carriers.” Common carriers must use the utmost care of diligence when occupants are on board. Limp companies must also provide vehicles in a safe and fit condition for carrying passengers.
As commercial vehicles, generally, party buses and limos will have insurance policies to insure companies against crashes and claims by injured passengers. It is unclear how much insurance the limo company had that was involved in the Schoharie, New York crash at this time. Given the high number of casualties, it is highly likely that the insurance amount will be insufficient to cover the costs of all victims’ claims. As such it is essential for the families of the Schoharie, NY limo crash to hire lawyers with experience in pursuing assets of companies when they injure people.
As this was the worst transportation accident since 2009, it is anticipated that there will be many lawsuits arising out of this incident. Schoharie is a town in Schoharie County, New York. The population was 3,299 at the 2000 census. The Town of Schoharie has a village, also called Schoharie. Schoharie sits in New York’s third judicial district, which is where any potential lawsuits could be filed. Depending on where the home base of the limo company is, lawsuits could also be filed in federal court.
If you have been involved in a party bus or limo accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Ketterer, Browne & Anderson.