Common Carrier Liability

The Federal government has created regulations regarding the liability to passengers injured while using a common carrier. A common carrier is one who represents to the public that its business is one of transporting persons or cargo from place to place for compensation, and such services are generally open to the public. Generally, commercial buses, ferries, trains, and airplanes are considered common carriers. Under Virginia law the state is prohibited from regulating interstate commercial flight operations. Va. Code § 5.1-90. The state, however, can regulate persons or corporations engaged in intrastate air commerce as common carriers. Va. Code § 5.1-91. In most situations, a common carrier is generally required to use the highest degree of care, diligence, and vigilance in the transport of its passengers to the appropriate destination. The carrier must have the necessary equipment and a reasonable degree of skill to carry out the transportation of passengers.


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