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Your Rights after Suffering Injury in a Mass Transit Accident

The Duties of a Common Carrier

Train derailmentBuses, light rails and commuter trains offer many advantages to consumers. You don’t have to worry about parking, you can minimize wear and tear on your personal vehicle (if you even need to own one), and most forms of public transportation are generally safer than traveling in your own car. But what happens when you are injured in an accident involving a bus or train? Can you still take legal action to protect your rights?

The Concept of a “Common Carrier”

As a general rule, when you are hurt in a motor vehicle accident, any lawsuit you file to recover for losses will be based on a general theory of negligence. To show negligence, you must prove that the person causing the accident “breached” or failed to meet a duty to act reasonably under the circumstances.

When the accident involves public transportation, however, that duty is somewhat different. An injured party must still show negligence or breach, but the duty is higher, under the legal principle of “common carrier” liability.

Under the law, a common carrier is anyone or any business that provides public transportation, including buses, trains and taxi cabs. It can also include limousine services or school buses, depending on state laws. In most states, a common carrier is required to exercise “the highest degree of care” to ensure the safety of passengers.

It’s important to understand, however, that the duty imposed does not amount to absolute or strict liability. The injured party must still show that the carrier failed to meet the expected standard of care.

Contact Attorney Howard D. Popper

To learn your options when you have been injured because of someone else’s carelessness, contact our office online or call attorney Popper at 973-993-8787. We have offices in Morristown and Newton, but will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary. There is no charge for your first consultation.

We handle all personal injury claims on a contingency basis. You won’t be charged any legal fees unless attorney Popper recovers compensation for your losses.