There is an active news story about a wedding party in the Bay Area that was riding in a limousine that caught fire. 5 of the 9 members of the party were unable to escape the flames and were burned to death. We were deeply saddened to see this on the news and pray for the survivors and each and every member of the families involved.
What is instructional about this tragedy were the interviews with those that were both directly and indirectly involved and what the driver was quoted to have said at the scene of this tragedy.
One of the survivors was quoted as saying they complained to the driver that they could smell smoke in the passenger compartment and possibly due to a language barrier the driver misunderstood that they were asking to smoke and he said no and continued to drive. By the time the pleas for help become more urgent the limo was already in flames. The time between the driver actually understanding the issue and his appropriate action may contributed to the deaths of 5 of the 9 occupants. The driver was quoted at the scene saying that he mis-understood them.
It would be irresponsible to assign any degree of fault before the appropriate investigations have been completed and a few aspects of this case are clear. There was a language barrier that contributed at some level to this accident, the limo driver had precious little experience as a driver, some say as little as 3 weeks and the limousine they were in was almost 15 years old and mechanical defects that may have been delayed could be called into question. It is our understanding that the driver of the limousine was properly licensed as was the company.
Whenever anyone rents a limousine it is imperative that safety comes before anything else. Since this is prom season, parents will be placing their children into the hands of limousines drivers and the expectation of a safe trip is paramount, even of greater importance than having a great time. Knowing how to communicate with driver, knowing where the safety equipment is located and knowing the background of BOTH the driver and the company are all critical pieces of information you should know in advance. At the end of the ride you just want to arrive at your destination safely.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision the experienced lawyers at Guenard & Bozarth can help you. We are available 24/7/365 by calling 888-809-1075 or at We Can Help!