If you have been injured as a passenger while riding a bus, then you may be able to hold that bus driver (and potentially his employer the bus company) liable for your injuries. Under California law, a bus is classified as a common carrier. This classification applies to all vehicles which transport people or freight for a fee. The following is a list of some vehicles which have been classified as common carriers:
- Railroad Freight Car/Passenger Train
- Mass Transit Authorities (Ex: San Diego MTS)
- Roller Coasters and Amusement Park Rides
- Elevators and Escalators
This classification as a common carrier means a different legal standard applies in relation to the level of care which must be provided to the passengers. A common carrier must use the utmost care and diligence in their transportation of passengers. Utmost care is the highest degree of care under the law.
This does not mean that the carrier must do everything possible to ensure their passengers are not injured. That would turn the carriers into insurers of their passenger’s safety. Rather, common carriers are required to do all that human care, vigilance and foresight can reasonably prevent, in order to ensure the safety of their passengers. Common carriers owe an even higher duty to children, disabled and elderly persons.
To better understand the duty of utmost care, consider the following examples in the case where you need a ride to the airport.
In scenario one, your neighbor drives you in his own car. The neighbor owes you a duty, as his passenger, to operate with a reasonable standard of care. This is the same duty every driver owes to everyone else on the road, to be reasonably safe.
In scenario two, you have called a taxi to take you to the airport. Because you have paid the taxi for its transportation, the driver of that taxi owes you the duty of utmost care. This duty is higher than your neighbor, because you have exchanged a fare for the right to safe passage to your destination.
The following is a list of examples which were found to fall short of the duty of utmost care:
- Dangerous condition of the platform, station or waiting area
- Unsafe conditions in the boarding/de-boarding of the vehicle
- Overcrowding above legal capacity
- Defective equipment
- Negligent operation by the driver
If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident on a bus or while riding in a taxi, please contact the experienced San Diego personal injury attorneys at Martinez & Schill LLP. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced in determining causation and may be able to offer insight into potentially liable parties. We don’t get paid until we recover compensation on your behalf, so call today for a free consultation. San Diego 619-512-5995 or Riverside 951-200-4630.