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Limo in fatal accident had safety citations

Some people in Louisiana might have heard about a deadly limousine accident in New York on Oct. 6. The accident killed two pedestrians, the driver and all 17 passengers in the vehicle when it ran a stop sign and hit a parked SUV.

In March, the State Department of Transportation cited the vehicle for brake failure. The vehicle was inspected again on Sept. 4 and failed, but an attorney for the company said the faults were minor ones such as a missing window latch or trouble with the windshield wipers. However, according to a DOT report from the second inspection, the vehicle had not corrected the issues noted in March. Furthermore, the driver's wife said he had complained about problems with some of the vehicles, including one that had the muffler fall off while he was driving it. The driver did not have a license that allowed him to drive a vehicle with more than 15 passengers.

The limousine company owner was taken into custody on Oct. 10 when police suspected him of fleeing. He faces criminally negligent homicide charges.

A wrongful death lawsuit may be brought against a person or company if negligence causes the death. This kind of lawsuit can be filed even if criminal charges are not brought against anyone or if criminal charges are brought but are unsuccessful. For example, in a case similar to this one, family members of the people who died might file a civil suit that goes to trial after the criminal case is concluded. Since the burden of proof is lower for a civil suit, the civil case might be successful even if the criminal case is not. Compensation after a successful civil suit may include money for expenses and lost wages.

Source: ABC News, "Limo in deadly crash had been cited for out-of-service brakes," Anthony Rivas and Aaron Katersky, 10/11/2018

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The Law Offices of W.A. “Chip” Forstall, Jr.

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