A common carrier is a transporter that offers services to the general public for compensation in the transportation of goods, property or messages over a defined route according to a regular schedule. These can include buses, duck boats, ferries, airlines, cruises, taxis and other forms of mass transit.
The Federal Government regulates common carriers that transport passengers or cargo across state lines under the Interstate Commerce Act, while individual states regulate travel within a state.
What Happens If My Cargo or Property Is Lost or Damaged by a Common Carrier?
Generally, a common carrier is liable for all losses which may occur to property assigned in his care during the course of business unless it is proven that the loss occurred by:
- An act of God;
- A hostile action, such as a bomb; or
- As a consequence of the owner of the property.
What Duties Are Owed to You as Passengers of Common Carriers?
In transporting passengers from one place to another, common carriers have the duty to:
- Provide vehicles that are reasonably safe and fit for their intended purpose
- Provide careful drivers of reasonable skill and good habits
- Exercise all the standard precautions for the safety of passengers
- Use the utmost care and vigilance in transporting passengers
- Comply with all safety laws
- Warn passengers of potentials dangers that are known to the carrier
When Can a Common Carrier Avoid Liability?
There are special circumstances by which a common carrier may not be responsible for any injuries to its passengers. These may include:
- A release of liability when the common carrier exercises all reasonable skill and diligence possible given the circumstances
- Mitigating circumstances, such as, assumption of risk, unforeseeability, or warnings provided by the carrier
- A decrease in liability if a passenger could reasonably have known a danger is present
Should I Consult an Attorney about My Common Carrier Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a common carrier accident, you should speak to a personal injury attorney to learn more about preserving your rights and remedies. A personal injury lawyer can help you seek damages for your injuries and represent you in court.