Many people travel to and throughout Virginia every year. The state is a popular vacation destination. Many people pay for transportation in the state, whether they fly in for a vacation, take a commuter train to work, or take a cab on a business trip. Unfortunately, travelers are often injured while using these types of transportation. If an injury was caused by the carelessness of the driver of the vehicle, the passenger may be able to recover compensation for his or her injuries.
A common carrier is one who accepts a fee to transport a passenger from one place to another. To qualify as a common carrier in Virginia, a person or company must:
- Maintain a regular place of business for the purpose of transporting travelers
- Advertise to the general public
- Set standardized fees or fares for transporting patrons from place to place
For example, this may include cabs, trains, airplanes, commuter rail, buses, or limousines. There is no requirement for a fixed route, set departure times, or a transportation license.
Standard of Care
The standard of care imposed on common carriers is higher than for an average person driving. If a driver acting on his own, rather than working for a common carrier, is involved in an accident, the driver may be liable if he or she was not acting in a reasonable manner. But common carriers must use the highest care and vigilance of a very cautious person.
The standard of care for common carriers transporting children and the disabled is even higher. If the common carrier voluntarily accepts a disabled person or a child as a passenger, he or she must take the additional care reasonably necessary to ensure safety.
A common carrier’s duties are as follows — they must:
- Do all they reasonably can under the circumstances to avoid injury to their passengers
- Use reasonable skills to provide everything needed for safe transportation
- Provide safe vehicles, fit for their purpose
- Not overcrowd or overload the vehicle
- Provide reasonable accommodations for all passengers
- Travel at a reasonable rate of speed, without unreasonable delays or deviations
Their duties thus include things such as screening drivers, providing proper training, and inspecting and maintaining their vehicles and equipment.
If a common carrier fails to prevent an attack by one passenger on another, the injured passenger may recover damages if he or she can prove both that:
- The common carrier knew or should have known that one passenger was reasonably likely to attack another.
- By using the highest care, the common carrier could have prevented or reduced the severity of the attack.
Contact Out Virginia Personal Injury Law Firm for Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving public transportation or a common carrier, please call the dedicated Virginia accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free consultation. We will evaluate your case and determine what legal recourse you may have.
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