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What Is Considered a “Common Carrier”?

October 18, 2021Firm News

Methods of transportation that are utilized by the public, such as a bus, passenger train, taxi, cruise ship, subway, etc., are considered “common carriers.” Common carriers are regulated by state and federal laws and are expected to exercise a high degree of caution when it comes to the safety of passengers. If you or a loved one are injured in an accident involving a common carrier, you may have the right to recover compensation for your injuries. 

Common Carrier Liability

Common carrier companies and their employees who provide transportation services to the public are held to a higher standard of care when it comes to accidents. If the company or an employee fails to exercise the level of care expected of them under the law and causes an accident, they can be held liable for resulting injuries and other losses. Part of that duty also involves: 

  • Exercising reasonable care to protect passengers from potential harm by a third party. 
  • Inspecting and maintaining the safety of their vehicles and equipment (e.g., regular inspections and maintenance, keeping vehicles’ interiors clean and free of debris, etc.)
  • Performing background checks on potential employees, including their driving record, before hiring them (e.g., accident history, traffic violations, or substance abuse). 
  • Creating realistic schedules that encourage drivers to operate their vehicles safely and drive the posted speed limit rather than engage in reckless driving behaviors to meet strict timelines. 
  • Providing proper safety and driver training to drivers.  
  • Warning passengers about potential hazards. 

When an accident does occur, victims must be able to prove that the common carrier breached their duty of care (e.g., driving distracted, speeding, etc.) and that the breach of care directly caused their injuries, which resulted in financial and/or personal losses. Since common carriers owe a very high standard of care to passengers, injury claims are often successful. However, there must be evidence that an action or a failure to act on the part of the carrier caused the injury.

Common Types of Common Carrier Accidents

Some of the most common types of common carrier Here are some of the most common types that occur: 

  • Bus Accidents: Due to driver error, inclement weather, improper maintenance, failure to replace faulty parts, defective parts, etc. 
  • Train Accidents: When a train derails or collides with a vehicle or object, it can be catastrophic for passengers. These accidents commonly happen due to driver or operator negligence, operator fatigue, or mechanical failure. 
  • Taxi / Limo / Shuttle Accidents: Many are caused by dangerous driving, such as speeding or failing to obey stop signs or traffic signals. Like any other vehicle accident, passengers can suffer severe injuries.  

Not all public transportation accidents are caused by high-impact collisions. For instance, a bus door can close on a passenger’s arm, a passenger may trip over an object in a walkway, or fall because of loose handrails, etc. However, in these cases, passengers can still suffer broken bones, head or brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other severe forms of harm. Contact our St. Louis personal injury attorneys today. 

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