Legally reviewed by:
Setareh Law
March 24, 2024
Commercial transport is a big industry throughout California. Whether you are using transportation options, such as a rideshare or bus, or relying on the services of a shipping company to receive a package, you encounter common carriers often. In California, common carriers have a standard they must abide by when traveling on roads and providing services to customers. The failure to uphold this standard, such as when causing a motor vehicle accident, can give rise to legal claims and action.

If you are in an accident involving a common carrier in California, you may be unsure how this law can affect your claim and rights to compensation. It’s important to contact a personal injury attorney for help with your case as soon as possible. Common carrier cases are often complex, and you could have a right to pursue damages against multiple liable parties. An attorney can offer advice and guidance to prepare a claim and build your case for the best possible outcome.

What Is the Common Carrier Law in California?

California’s common carrier statute specifically indicates that a common carrier must provide the utmost care when transporting people. The standard required and expected by a common carrier is well above the amount of reasonable care expected in typical motor vehicle accidents between everyday drivers. The common carrier law applies not only to passengers that the carrier is transporting, but it may also apply to others ultimately affected by the carrier’s negligent actions, resulting in injuries or damages.

The duty of a common carrier requires:

  • That they use the very highest care and vigilance when carrying out their role
  • That they must do everything they can using vigilance and foresight to prevent harm to passengers
  • That the carrier must use their reasonable skill to provide whatever is necessary for the safe transportation of their passengers within the parameters of the practical operation of the business

Deciphering the language of the common carrier statute is complex. When you are a victim in a common carrier accident, an attorney can provide helpful insight into how your accident and injuries fall within the statute and what your rights to compensation may be.

Who Is Considered a Common Carrier?

The definition of a common carrier includes any entity or person transporting goods or people for reward or payment. Examples of parties considered a common carrier under California law include:

  • Shipping companies
  • Rideshare services
  • Bus transportation
  • Air transportation
  • Cruise ships
  • Ferries
  • Taxis
  • Trains

The fact that the party involved in the accident causing your injuries is a common carrier does not mean they are automatically liable for your losses. As a victim, you still have the burden under the law to prove your case and prove the at-fault party behaved negligently. However, when the party is a common carrier, they are held to a higher standard, making it easier in some circumstances for a victim to prove the carrier’s behavior breached the duty of the care owed to you.

What Are Common Examples of Negligence in Common Carrier Cases?

Many circumstances and events may cause injuries to a victim due to a carrier’s breach of the utmost care owed to their passengers. However, some common examples of this type of negligence include:

  • Reckless operation of the vehicle or vessel involved in the accident by a driver
  • Failure to properly inspect or maintain vehicles used for transport
  • Negligent hiring practices of drivers and operators
  • Failure to provide safety equipment or safety restraints when appropriate
  • Failure to warn passengers of potential hazards or dangers

A common carrier accident lawyer can evaluate the evidence in your case to identify whether negligence is likely present and if you may have a valid claim.

Contact Setareh Law and Our California Car Accident Lawyers Today

A common carrier accident can have devastating impacts on your life, causing serious injuries and impacting your ability to work and enjoy your daily routine. However, you do not need to go through this challenging time on your own. Filing a claim for your losses is something you should do with the help of an experienced, knowledgeable, and qualified common carrier lawyer.

At Setareh Law, we understand the intricacies of a common carrier accident and how to protect the rights of victims. To discuss your rights to file a claim and the compensation that may be available in your case, contact us at (310) 659-1826 or on our contact form. We also speak Spanish.