A common carrier is any transportation company that transports goods, people, or property from one part of the state to another. These can include any and all transportation forms, such as taxis, buses, trains, escalators/elevators, ski lifts, cruise ships, planes, etc. Any transportation company that seeks this label should satisfy the following requirements.
- The original reason for its establishment was transporting goods or people between places.
- The company identifies as a transportation company before the public.
- It charges a fee to move goods or people between places.
Things to Know about California Common Carrier Liability
- Common Carriers are Required to Meet Higher Standards of Care: Unlike alternative automobile operators, common carriers are expected by California law to “use the utmost care and diligence for their safe carriage, must provide everything necessary for that purpose, and must exercise to that end a reasonable degree of skill.” That means providing a safe vehicle adequate for its intended duties, proper treatment of passengers (including the warning of any dangers), protecting passengers from dangers (including possibly each other), and driving smoothly. Common carriers must also stringently screen and adequately train employees, and run inspections and maintenance.
- Numerous Parties May Be Involved in a Common Carrier Accident: There are often many unseen parties at fault for accidents involving common carriers, and they need not have been personally present at the time, let alone witnessed the incident. For instance, in a truck accident, the list of possible at-fault parties includes the truck owner, manufacturer of the truck, local government, state government, truck company, and maintenance company.
- Determination of Fault in a Common Carrier Crash is Often Highly Complex: With the high number of unseen parties including the ones mentioned above, determining fault can be extremely hard. One thing complicating this even more is the high number of types of accidents. Some of the common causes that the court may acknowledge include the driver’s drowsiness, distracted driving, poor maintenance, substance abuse, bad weather and road conditions, inadequate driver training, and defective equipment.
If you are involved in a tractor trailer accident that caused you injury or vehicle damage, and the fault belongs to the other driver or drivers, it is often best to promptly get in touch with a competent truck accident attorney specializing in this.