Common Carrier

Common Carrier – Bus, Train or Plane

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

If you are injured while riding a bus, train, or airplane, common carrier law likely applies. Typically, a common carrier is required to use the highest degree of care, diligence, and vigilance, must have certain types of safety equipment on hand, and possess a reasonable degree of skill in transporting its passengers to their destinations.

Common carrier accidents can cause severe injuries, including spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, concussions, or even wrongful death.


Higher standard

Generally, the carrier must act as a very cautious person would act in similar circumstances. Extreme care is required. This is an easier standard for an injured person to satisfy than in general negligence, where a person need only act as a reasonable person, and exercise ordinary care. If the common carrier breaches its duty to act with extreme care, then it will be legally responsible for all injuries sustained by a passenger during transportation that could have been avoided with better care or diligence.

Negligence per se

If someone is injured due the carrier’s noncompliance with safety laws, the carrier may be found to have absolute liability for those injuries. In the presence of such a violation, the common carrier will be liable, even if it otherwise acted with utmost care.

Duty to warn

In addition to exercising extreme care in transporting its passengers, a common carrier also has a duty to warn passengers about any dangers the carrier is aware of or should be aware of. For example, if a passenger is injured when standing in an isle while the carrier is in motion, and the passenger was not warned of the danger of so doing, then the carrier will breach its duty to warn. This makes the common carrier liable for the injuries caused by the failure to warn of the danger.


There are exceptions or mitigating circumstances to these rules, such as assumption of risk, disregarding a warning, or comparative liability. An experienced attorney will be able to help you evaluate your claim.

As an aside, common carriers may also be held liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress if its employee intentionally insults a passenger. The standard applied to common carriers is much easier for a plaintiff to satisfy than in other emotional distress cases, where the defendant’s conduct must be extreme and outrageous for there to be an intentional infliction of emotional distress.


If you or a family member has been injured on a bus, train, or plane:

1.Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Go to an emergency room or an urgent care as soon as you experience any pain or discomfort following an accident. Even if you don’t see any external injuries, it is extremely important to be evaluated to see if you have any fractures, a closed head injury, or internal bleeding. If you do not you’re your injuries require emergency medical care, see your family doctor as soon as possible. If you delay in seeking medical care, you could be making a costly mistake. At the Law Office of Slaughter and. Slaughter, we work with medical doctors, chiropractors, and therapists who specialize in treating people who have been injured in an accident. Even if you do not have health insurance coverage, Slaughter & Slaughter can provide medical referrals for you to receive appropriate treatment.

2.Limit your communication insurance adjusters. It is generally okay to speak with the adjuster about property damage, but, do not talk about your injuries. The adjuster’s job is to obtain information to use against you when it is time to pay your claim. The goal is to pay you as little money as is possible to settle your claim. So, with regard to your injuries, simply tell the adjuster you were hurt in the accident and that you are seeking medical treatment, and decline to go into any further detail.

3.Contact an experienced attorney. Common carrier accidents often involve complex liability issues. Failing to have the proper legal representation can cost you thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. Also, the attorney can deal with any insurance adjusters. As tempting as it may be, don’t be lured into signing a release in exchange for a quick settlement. Once you sign that release, you cannot ask for more money, which will be tragic if you find out that your injuries have not fully resolved and you need additional medical care.

The Law Offices of

Slaughter & Slaughter

402 West Broadway,
Suite 400
San Diego CA 92101


There is no reason to suffer alone from the effects of an accident on a bus, train, or plane. We can help you bring a claim and strive to get the compensation you and your family will need for a lifetime of coping with this catastrophic injury. Our compassionate personal injury lawyers want to see you achieve the best resolution possible.

We serve clients throughout Southern California, including Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and the communities of La Jolla, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, Encinitas, Escondido, Pacific Beach, San Diego, Los Angeles, Chula Vista, and surrounding areas.

Don’t delay, call today for more information and a free evaluation of your claim.

Call now for a FREE consultation 888-207-5321