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Brake Failure a Possible Cause of Major Limo Accident from Fall

Last October, a major limousine accident outside Albany made national news when it resulted in the deaths of 20 people. It marked the worst American transportation accident in about a decade. Now, a long investigation has led to findings that the cause may have been a “catastrophic” brake failure.

A state expert put together a report on the accident, concluding that the vehicle’s brakes failed as the limo was traveling down a hill in a rural part of New York. The crush resulted in the deaths of 17 passengers, the driver and two pedestrians. The vehicle was a 2001 Ford Excursion stretch limousine.

Who is liable?

When this type of accident occurs, there may be multiple liable parties. If a defect in the vehicle was due to a manufacturing issue, the manufacturer could be liable in a personal injury claim. However, if the operator should have known about the defect, and the defect was a result of poor maintenance rather than poor design or manufacturing, the operator would be liable.

In this case, the operator of the limousine company faces 20 counts of second-degree manslaughter and another 20 counts of criminally negligent homicide. According to authorities, the vehicle had previous issues with its brakes and a failed horn and should not have been out on the road. The report finds the operator should have known the vehicle was a safety hazard.

To learn more about proceeding with an auto accident claim, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer with Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.