Common Carrier Accidents (Buses and Transit Vehicles)

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A common carrier is an organization that transports persons or goods, and offers its services to the general public. In contrast, private carriers do not offer a service to the public, and provide transport on an irregular or ad-hoc basis. Common carriers typically transport persons or goods according to defined routes and schedules. Airlines, railroads, bus lines, cruise ships and trucking companies may be common carriers.

Common carriers are governed by different laws from state to state. The federal government regulates the interstate laws and the individual state governments control the intrastate regulation. The common carriers are required to take highest degree of care as well as employ safety measures to make sure that the passengers can reach safely at their destination. In case of an accident involving a common carrier, the degree of liability to be paid by the carrier depends on the injuries sustained by the passenger.

According to laws of some states, a common carrier does not have an absolute responsibility of ensuring its passenger safety. However they should take utmost care when transporting passengers to avoid accidents. The common carrier is therefore liable for any injuries sustained by its passengers from accidents that could have been avoided if only the carrier was careful. The carriers are expected to take extra care in case of elderly and disabled passengers. They are also expected to provide seating for the disabled and the elderly. Examples of expectations from the carriers are

  • To their equipment in excellent working condition;
  • They can’t start and stop suddenly or drive erratically;
  • They must discharge passengers in a place of safety and at their destination;
  • They must protect passengers from violent acts of other passengers.

Common carriers are required to warn its passengers of the dangers that exist inside the carrier. An example would be to warn passengers of getting thrown out of the carrier if they stand in the aisle. Whenever an accident results from the carrier’s noncompliance of the safety laws of the state they are totally liable for the personal injuries suffered by the passengers.

For those who have suffered personal injury due to common carrier accidents there is a limit to the filing period for damages. The filing period is termed as the “Statute of Limitations”. The statute of limitation provides the time frame as to when a lawsuit for personal injury may be filed.

If you or someone you know was involved in an accident on a common carrier, or was hurt by a common carrier, or while getting on or off a common carrier, contact us to discuss your case.

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