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What is common carrier liability?

Common carrier liability refers to the kind of liability that the owner of a taxi, bus, cruise ship, commercial airplane or passenger train has in the event of an accident. Under United States law, a common carrier is defined as a business that transports goods and/or people for a fee.

If an injurious bus, train or airplane accident happens, the common carrier owner of the bus, train or airplane can be held liable for the injuries suffered by the paying passengers who were injured on board. That said, the injured passengers must first prove that the carrier was liable for the accident in court.

Common carriers in the United States operate under the regulatory authority of different organizations. For example, commercial airplanes operate under the authority of the Federal Aviation Administration. All common carriers -- no matter what kind of transportation they provide -- are subjected to strict rules that require them to use the utmost diligence and care when it comes to the safety of any passenger on board.

If a common carrier fails to tell passengers ahead of time about a dangerous condition that could arise, it could make the carrier liable in the event that an injury arises from that danger. For instance, airlines that do not turn on their fasten seatbelt signs during a very bumpy flight, might be liable for the injuries of passengers.

In summary, common carrier personal injury claims can arise from carriers failing to follow regulations and they can also arise from carriers failing to exercise appropriate diligence and care given particular circumstances. Chicago residents who fear that they were injured due to a common carrier's negligence in this regard may have viable claims for damages in court.

Source: FindLaw, "What is a Common Carrier?," accessed May. 15, 2015

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