Any business that offers to transport individuals from one place to another in exchange for compensation and whose services are open to the public is called a “common carrier”. Some examples of common carriers include commercial buses like Greyhound, trains, subways, trolleys, airplanes, ferries and taxes.
Common carriers owe their passengers a special duty. Generally, they are required to use the highest degree of care and diligence in taking passengers to their destinations. Common carriers are responsible for having the proper equipment and skill to transport passengers. In many cases, common carriers such as taxi companies can be held liable for the actions of their drivers. This is particularly true in cases where it can be shown the taxi company used poor judgment in hiring the driver, such as if the driver had a bad driving record or a long criminal history.
However, although common carriers owe their passengers a special duty, they are not the absolute insurers of their passengers’ safety. If a passenger is injured, it’s not automatically the fault of the common carrier. The accident could have been caused by another vehicle on the road.
In many accidents involving common carriers, it is tough to determine who’s responsible. This is especially true with taxi companies. In some cases, taxi drivers own their own cabs, and therefore the driver is responsible. Taxi drivers sometimes rent their cabs from the taxi company, in which case both parties can be held responsible. In other situations, the drivers are simply employees of the company, and the company is therefore liable for the actions of the driver. In some cases a third party is liable.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes public transportation passengers should have the right to safe transportation. If you’ve been injured in a taxi, ferry, trolley, or other accident in San Francisco, Oakland, Tracy or Fairfield, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco taxi accident attorney, at 415-896-1000.