A common carrier is a legal term for a public or private entity that transports goods or people in exchange for a fee. Some examples of common carriers include airlines, buses, trains, freight carriers as well as taxis. A common carrier is subjected to strict regulations governing passenger safety to ensure that no accidents occur. Companies that operate these services are required to train their employees in passenger safety and provide a secure vehicle for transportation.
A passenger is a person using a common carrier such as a bus to ride to a particular destination, who is accepted by the bus as a rider and who places themselves under the control of the vehicle. In many states, common carrier laws entitle a person to enhanced safety protection if they are within the definition of a passenger. Passengers have to prove negligence on the part of the common carrier for a bus accident claim.
How can you prove common carrier liability for bus injuries?
A common carrier operating a bus service is liable for accident injuries if any of the following occurs:
- Injuries that may occur due to a fall when the bus starts before the passenger has boarded the bus or seated themselves
- Passenger’s safety is compromised during a collision due to poorly maintained or broken equipment
- Loading or unloading at non-compliant, hazardous, or dangerous zones
- Failure to comply with traffic rules and negligent driving
- Any disputes or altercations within the passengers which the bus driver failed to prevent
What to expect in a bus accident claim?
In all cases, the specific facts of injuries caused by the accident will determine the liability of the bus operator, driver, or any other persons or entities involved.
If a passenger does not adhere to the terms and conditions of riding, a bus can terminate a person’s status as a passenger. Examples of these include but are not limited to carrying dangerous hazardous substances or having medical conditions that might impair passenger’s own safety on a common carrier.
What are the claim procedures and limitations?
Liability in common carrier accidents can vary depending on if the common carrier is a public entity or a private entity. It is comparatively easier for accident victims to recover their losses from private common carriers in comparison to public common carriers.
Public bus transportation is governed by federal and states public laws and enjoy additional protection from liabilities. The limitations and pleading requirements are the same as those applying to a general government liability case.
- Punitive damages may not be claimed against the public entity itself, however it can be awarded against the bus driver or any other public employee responsible for the accident.
- There is a short deadline of six months or less to notify the public bus transportation service in writing of the precise details of the accident.
- There is a shortened deadline for filing a lawsuit against the public bus transportation services.
How can a personal injury lawyer help you?
If you or your loved one were a victim of a bus accident, you should hire an expert personal injury lawyer to assist you in recovering compensation for your bus accident injuries. Your lawyer uses facts and evidence to demonstrate how the common carrier failed to stand by the legal standards of care and how your injuries were a direct result of that failure. This evidence is also used to establish monetary value of your losses and injuries including current and potential medical expenses, loss of wages, and pain and suffering.