Last week, New York lawmakers passed a final budget for FY 2022. Some of the highlights include billions in aid for schools, rent and homeowner relief, green economy investments, affordable internet, and other resources intended to help the state recover and renew after a tough pandemic year.
But what isn’t getting much attention is a last minute revision to the budget that reduces insurance coverage requirements for limo and commuter van operators in New York City from $1.5 million to $500,000.
The change is a direct attack on the 2019 Limousine Safety Act, which was passed thanks in part to support from safety advocates and the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA). The Act increased insurance coverage requirements for bodily injury liability on commuter vehicles from as little as $25,000 to $1.5 million.
The reduction also means that victims who suffer injuries in commuter vehicle accidents are at risk of not being able to recover the compensation they need. Serious injuries can cost victims nearly incalculable sums in medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Because limos often carry a number of passengers, they need to have sufficient insurance to be able to compensate customers who are injured while using their services.
Unfortunately, NY lawmakers’ revision of limo insurance requirements highlights the dangers that can result from the flood of private money into our political systems. As advocates know well, victims’ rights are constantly under threat from private interests.
As corporations, insurance companies and their constituents care more about profits than people. They have extensive resources to lobby lawmakers into passing legislation in their favor and have no qualms about investing time and money into stripping away protections that help shield victims from financial ruin after they suffer losses due to the negligence of others. It’s a problem seen across politics and in civil justice issues such as medical malpractice damages caps and binding arbitration agreements – both of which favor corporations over people.
At The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., we are disheartened by the insurance requirement reduction. As a firm that fights for victims of motor vehicle collisions, we stand prepared to help victims explore their options for recovering needed compensation after a limo accident, even if it means pursuing liability from multiple parties or through a victims’ uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage. If you have questions about a potential case, contact us for a free consultation.