What Is a Common Carrier?
A “common carrier” is a service that regularly transports people and goods on established routes and schedules. Under Colorado law, common carriers are considered to be a public utility.
Common carriers include freight trucks that haul cargo, buses that regularly transport passengers, and taxi services. As with taxi services, “rideshare” companies like Uber and Lyft may be liable for injury-producing accidents as a common carrier. However, taxi and rideshare drivers are not employees of their respective companies, but are instead considered to be independent contractors. In contrast to employer-employee relationships, companies have limited liability with regard to the conduct of the independent contractors they hire.
What Is a Common Carrier’s Duty of Care?
Because public utilities are operated for the public’s benefit, the law imposes a heightened duty of care for common carriers to promote and protect public safety. This includes conducting regular safety inspections to ensure vehicles and equipment are operating within safe parameters, and complying with financial responsibility laws with regard to liability for accidents.
Common carriers are covered by insurance policies that pay for damages for certain injuries that are sustained by the common carrier’s passengers or third-parties. Because accidents involving a common carrier or its agents have the unique potential for injuring a larger number of people, the liability limits for these companies is normally higher than consumer auto insurance policies.
Liability for Accidents
Accidents involving common carriers can implicate any number of parties, including the at-fault driver, the common carrier company, its passengers, and other injured drivers or passengers involved in the accident. Any one of these drivers may have caused or contributed to an accident. Accordingly, a lawsuit for personal injuries sustained in an accident should initially presume liability of all parties involved, except for passengers, in most cases.
Call an Experienced Denver Accident Lawyer
Although common carriers are subjected to rigorous standards to ensure public safety, they unfortunately make mistakes. If you have been injured in an accident involving a common carrier, you deserve proper legal representation from an experienced Denver car accident attorney.
At Denver Trial Lawyers ®, we have countless years of collective litigation experience in personal injury cases that involve accidents with a common carrier. You should not have to deal with a potentially life-changing injury without legal redress for the accident that led to such an injury. We safeguard our clients’ rights to receive just compensation for their injuries through aggressive, results-oriented advocacy, tailored to each individual’s needs.
For a complimentary case evaluation with a respected Denver car accident attorney, call Denver Trial Lawyers ® at (303) 647-9990 or contact us online today!