A family arriving in Florida from Chicago were injured when the limousine they had rented crashed into a pillar in the airport’s parking garage. The family of four and the limo driver were taken to the hospital, although their injuries were said not to be “life-threatening.” Police have not released any further information as to why the driver might have lost control of the vehicle, or if it was driver or mechanical error that caused the crash.
The Chicago family, consisting of a mother and father, a 13 year-old son, and a 7 year-old daughter, arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. They booked a 2008 Lincoln Navigator limousine to take them from the airport to their destination. Shortly before 3:50 p.m., according to news reports, the 75 year-old limo driver lost control of the limo inside the airport parking garage. The limo collided with a parked car on the ground level, then slammed into a concrete pillar.
The limo was reportedly totalled by the collision. All five occupants of the limo were taken to Broward Health Medical Center. No one was seriously injured, according to authorities at the time. No subsequent media reports on the accident have appeared. Police said that they were investigating the cause of the crash, but local newspapers do not appear to have reported further information.
A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s department stated that the limo driver apparently lost control of the vehicle just before the crash. The reasons for this, including whether it was driver error, a mechanical failure with the vehicle, or simply an accidental set of circumstances, were not immediately apparent.
In a case such as this one, the law of “common carriers” may apply. A “common carrier” is a person or company employed, for compensation, to transport goods or persons. This applies to motor vehicles, including cars, vans, limousines, buses, helicopters, boats, or airplanes. It may also apply to other modes of transport, such as elevators. A common carrier could be a business that employs drivers, in which case the driver is known as the “actual carrier.” Liability for injuries still rests with the common carrier in that situation, under the legal theory of respondeat superior, which holds an employer liable for acts of its employees performed in the course of their employment. If an actual carrier negligently causes an accident that results in injury to a passenger, the common carrier may be liable to the passenger for damages. It is generally treated as a higher standard of care than that of an ordinary driver for non-paying passengers.
In the event of a mechanical failure causing loss of control of a vehicle, a plaintiff could claim damages against the auto manufacturer under a products liability theory. Such a claim could be based on a design defect inherent in the vehicle, or a manufacturing defect that caused the vehicle to malfunction.
The attorneys at Cohn & Smith help recover compensation for people in South Florida who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones in automobile accidents. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our lawyers, contact us today online, or by calling our law offices at (954) 431-8100, or at (305) 624 9186.
More Blog Posts:
Fatal Car Crash on Fort Lauderdale Highway Results from Attempt to Pass on the Shoulder, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, July 19, 2012
Two Fatalities When Pickup Truck Crashes Into Miami Restaurant, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, July 17, 2012
Accident from a DUI driver, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, June 20, 2012
Photo credit: ‘2008 Lincoln Navigator L limo black’ by Mr.choppers (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.