Schmitt Mulhern, LLC

What is a common carrier and why is it important?

A common carrier, in the United States, is simply a vehicle that transports something for commercial purposes.

A box truck could be a common carrier while transporting goods, for instance. A bus or a taxi count as common carriers while moving people from one location to another. Even larger vehicles, like commercial airliners, cruises ships and passengers trains fall into this category.

One thing these have in common is that there is a fee. If you ride home with a friend after work, your friend is not a common carrier. If you pay a taxi driver to take you home, he or she is a common carrier. You're paying money for the service.

That's important because with that payment comes an expectation of a certain level of care. You expect the ride to be safe. You expect the driver to do all that he or she can to keep you from being injured.

When this expectation is not met, the driver may then be liable. If the bus you're riding on runs a red light and gets hit by a semi, you may be able to seek compensation from the driver and/or the bus company to help cover your medical costs.

This doesn't mean all accidents in common carriers are the fault of the driver. You do have to show that negligence was involved.

That said, if the common carrier wasn't negligent and didn't cause the accident, you may still be able to seek compensation from the driver who did. Every case is different, but it's important to know all of the legal options that you have.

Source: FindLaw, "What is a Common Carrier?," accessed Oct. 27, 2017

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Ben Schmitt

Attorney Ben Schmitt

Mr. Schmitt has over 25 years of legal experience in Missouri and Kansas, and he has been first chair in over 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. He is recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal, Super Lawyers, Avvo.com and Martindale Hubbell as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.

Matt Mulhern

Attorney Matt Mulhern

Mr. Mulhern has over 25 years of legal experience and a 100 percent success rate arguing before the Missouri Court of Appeals. He has a unique knowledge of the inner workings of insurance companies and how they will dispute your injury claim. He practices in both Missouri and Kansas.