05/07/2013 // Concord, CA, USA // LifeCare123 // Joe Motta, JD, Greg Vigna, MD, JD // (press release)
(Burn Injury News) As news of the horrific limousine fire that killed a bride, her four friends, and injured her other four friends on the San Mateo Bridge in the San Francisco Bay Area, questions emerge regarding its cause, what happened and what can be done to prevent this from happening again. What is clear is the nine nurses, all friends, had left a bridal shower on what was supposed to be a happy and memorable day. Now, families and friends deal with tragedy and unexplained loss. Now these nurses become patients dealing with smoke inhalation injuries, burns, and psychological distress. An unfortunate consequence for the survivors of the inferno is the reality that acute burn care, post-discharge burn care, and chronic management of burn related complications have both direct and indirect cost that are staggering more often than not causing them to become medically indigent. Sufficiency of a life care plan, which provides all necessary and appropriate care necessary to prevent medical complications and improve the patient’s psychosocial health more often than not, is determined on finding liability in a party with the most insurance to pay for this cost.
As the California Highway Patrol and Fire officials try to unravel this tragedy, it appears those who survived had to crawl through the partition and exit through the front doors, while those who died were stuck in the passenger compartment of the limousine.
California and other states have Common Carrier Liability, which is different than simple negligence liability. For example, per California Civil Code sections 2100 and 2101, a common carrier must use the highest care and vigilance to avoid harm to passengers and must use the highest care in servicing, inspecting and maintaining their vehicles and equipment used for transporting passengers.
According to preliminary reports, there were too many passengers in the limousine. There was also mention that the five who died were huddled near the front of the limousine passenger compartment and the exit doors had yet to be examined per the California Highway Patrol.
Finding liability in a case like this may be challenging. Operator error will generally involve liability insurance, and due to the number of victims, there is no amount of insurance coverage that will adequately compensate the survivors. There have been complaints that the driver did not react quickly enough and he is also accused of doing nothing once he pulled over. This carelessness can lead to exposure and involve the liability insurance policy, and generally, limousine companies are required to carry minimum amounts of insurance.
There are also questions whether the particular limousine was subject to a prior recall by the manufacturer or whether it was properly modified by a certified company. There were some reports that the limousine was riding low and it may have been over the recommended weight limit. In these situations, liability may be found in a products liability action against the manufacturer and modifier of the limousine.
Another possible way to find liability and a source of funds is to find out what the owner of the company knew or should have known about the limousine. If he was purposefully buying substandard and unsafe limousines, then he may be personally liable for this senseless tragedy.
Source: Serious Injury Lawyers of LifeCare123.com
Address: 1401 Willow Pass Road, Concord, CA 94520
Url: Lifecare Solutions Group