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Public Transportation Accident Injuries and Common Carrier Liability

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Public transportation ridership has shown a nationwide increase of approximately 35 percent over the past 20 years, as ground transportation systems have become more efficient and widespread. Higher fuel costs and parking issues have made the use of public transportation more attractive, especially in urban areas. Environmental awareness has added to the appeal of public transportation by reducing the production of smog from carbon monoxide emissions. With more commuters and travelers relying on public transportation, the number of accidents has risen proportionately nationwide. California has reflected that increase.

In California, businesses and government agencies that operate public transportation vehicles are considered common carriers. Their responsibility is to provide safety over and above what is considered "reasonable." They are entrusted to provide high safety standards to those who rely on them daily. 

When injuries occur in a public transportation accident, the determination of liability can be a great deal more difficult than with a car accident. Injuries may occur to persons on the bus or train, in an area used by a public transportation system, or as a driver, passenger or pedestrian on a public road or sidewalk. The size of a public transportation vehicle can produce a much greater amount of damage than a car. Types of public transportation vehicles include passenger trains and light rail, buses, van pools, taxis, ferries and aircraft as well as elevators, escalators and moving walkways. Private tour and charter buses and other privately owned transportation companies are also considered common carriers.

When a passenger is hurt while using public transportation, the common carrier may be held legally responsible. Some of the common causes of public transportation accident injuries are:

· Operator or driver negligence

· Lack or safety equipment

· Lack of safety procedures

· Other passengers

· Other drivers

· Road or track hazards or poor maintenance

· Defective equipment

· Poorly maintained equipment

The Laws Regarding Carriers of Persons for Reward

Civil Code § 2103:

"A carrier of persons for reward (common carrier) must give passengers all such accommodations as are usual and reasonable, and must treat them with civility and give them a reasonable degree of attention"

Civil Code § 2103 also states that equipment must also be "safe and fit for its intended purpose."

Common carriers are held to a higher standard of law than other transportation services as contained in Civil Code § 2100 which states that common carriers "must use the utmost care and diligence for safe carriage, must provide everything for that purpose, and must exercise to that end a reasonable degree of skill."

Common carriers are responsible for the actions of their employees and have a duty to maintain the safety of their equipment. When a common carrier fails in their legal duties to ensure the safety of passengers and the public, resulting in a person being hurt, the injured party is entitled to compensation for those injuries. It is imperative that any person injured in an accident involving the negligence of a common carrier, contact an experienced attorney.

The Public Transportation Accident Attorney

To determine legal responsibility in a public transportation accident injury case, can be a very complex task. An accident involving a common carrier may have one or more contributing circumstances involving negligence. An attorney, experienced in public transportation accidents can reconstruct the events leading up to the accident and uncover the true cause and liability.

If you or a loved one were injured by a public transportation vehicle, or received injuries as a passenger on public transportation, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney at Vititoe Law Group Today. Even if you were injured while waiting for, boarding or un-boarding public transportation, speak to an attorney. You may be entitled to compensation. Call Vititoe Law Group today, while all the facts remain clear, for a free consultation.

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