What is a Common Carrier?

If you experience spending time on a bus, commercial plane, taxicab, passenger train, or cruise ship, then, you are on a common carrier. In the USA, a common carrier denotes a unit whose main business is transporting people or goods from one place to another place in exchange for a certain fee. Certain amusement parks in some states like California considered having common carriers. Carriers may be held accountable for injuries sustained by the passengers, only if the plaintiff can show negligence.

Common Carrier Legal Liability

Carriers like tour bus and passenger planes offer services to the general public under the authority of a regulatory board which is responsible to establish standards for the safety and other passenger issues. For instance, commercial airlines must follow the regulations established by the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA. But regulations or without them, carriers are obliged to practice the highest level of care and diligence in the safety of their passengers and/or cargo.

Failing to warn the passengers regarding a probable dangerous condition also subject the carriers to legal actions. For instance, an airline may be held responsible for its passengers’ injuries when the pilot was unable to turn on the “fasten seatbelt” sign after noticing heavy turbulence. However, liability for failure to warn lies on the issue of whether a reasonably careful operator would have known or should have known regarding the dangerous condition.

Hence, a carrier can be sued for the injuries for failing to obey a specific regulation or failing to practice the care and diligence expected from a careful operator.

The Importance of Evidence in Carrier Accidents

To show the negligence on the part of the carrier, the plaintiff must prove that

  • The defendant violated the duty of failing to eliminate ice from the wings of the plane that later made an emergency landing that caused injuries.
  • The defendant has a duty to the plaintiff like carriers must practice the optimum care and diligence for their passengers.
  • The plaintiff experiences damage, mostly physical injuries but they can be emotional distress or loss of wages.

Because the legal theory of strict liability does not apply to common carriers, this means that the plaintiff must prove that there has been a violation of the duty of the carrier, and the evidence plays a major role in the negligence claim.

Probable evidence may involve the following:

  • Eyewitness testimony can come from a fellow passenger of a tour bus, for instance, who has personally witnessed the bus driver stealing drinks from a flask before the accident.
  • Negligence per se can be used when, for instance, a cruise ship knows circumvents the Coast Guard regulations that result in the injuries of the passengers.
  • The plaintiff may use expert witness testimony to explain and discuss how the injury has been resulted due to the negligence of the carrier; the carrier may also use an expert witness to prove that they acted in a reasonable way.
  • Inspection records can be used when, for instance, these records of the airplane have the recommendation to install new landing gear but the carrier ignores the recommendation, thus, the carrier can be held accountable for the injuries associated with the landing gear failure.
  • Images can be used, when for instance, a picture of a specifically steep and probably dangerous staircase on a cruise ship, without the signage warning, may provide significant evidence of the failure to warn of the carrier.

Common carriers involving accidents are rare but can occur to anybody at any time. If you think you have a case against common carriers regarding negligence caused your injuries, you can contact a personal injury attorney in your area.

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