The Degree of Care When a Fee is Charged for Transport
Under the laws of negligence, which have evolved over the past millennia, every person in society must exercise reasonable care in all actions, so as to minimize the risk of injury to others. Accordingly, if a person gives you a ride to or from somewhere, even if the ride is free, the driver must exercise reasonable care to avoid a possible car crash.
When you pay money to travel on a motor coach, train, passenger boat, taxi or airplane, though, you expect a higher degree of care and a higher level of safety. In fact, the law imposes a duty on individuals and entities that transport either people or goods from one place to another for a fee. They are known under the law as “common carriers,” and typically must adhere to higher legal standards than other motorists.
The Duties of a Common Carrier
Under the law, a common carrier must exercise “the highest degree of care” when transporting individuals or property for a fee. With respect to people, a common carrier must take “all reasonable steps” to prevent injury to passengers. Note that the duty actually may extend to individuals in a waiting area who may subsequently become passengers upon the arrival of a train, bus, truck or other vehicle. However, in most instances, the duty arises once the passenger purchases a ticket.
Contact Attorney Howard D. Popper
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