If you were one of the millions of people who took some sort of bus tour here in the U.S. over the course of the last year, chances are good you spent the majority of your time taking in the scenery and enjoying the company of your fellow passengers. Indeed, the furthest thing from your mind during the tour was probably what the law has to say about the duties of tour bus companies as they relate to keeping passengers safe.
While this is understandable, it's nevertheless important to understand that what the law has to say regarding tour bus accidents is considerably different from what is has to say regarding car accidents.
At the outset, it must be noted that a tour bus -- along with commercial buses, school buses, taxis, cruise ships and commercial airplanes, to name only a few -- are viewed as common carriers in the eyes of the law.
In general, a common carrier is a business entity that transports either goods or people from one destination to another in exchange for a fee. By way of illustration, consider the airlines through which you book flights or the bus companies from which you purchase tickets.
All this matters from a legal perspective, as common carriers are bound to exercise the utmost degree of care and due diligence when it comes to the personal safety of the passengers in their care.
This means liability can result if passengers suffer personal injuries as a result of the common carriers failure to do the following:
- Adhere to government regulations pertaining to safety
- Exercise the care otherwise expected of a reasonably careful common carrier
We'll continue this discussion in our next post, exploring the elements of a bus accident claim and the numerous parties that may be held liable in the event of a tour bus crash.