What is a Common Carrier Accident?

What is a Common Carrier Accident?

When your accident involves a vehicle like a bus, taxi, Uber, train, or shuttle, it’s not just a traffic accident. It’s a common carrier accident that follows a special set of laws in California.

Certain vehicles and modes of transport are expected to provide a high standard of care in transporting people safely. These drivers may also need to hold special licenses and follow certain rules that apply to common carriers.

Below are the most important things you need to know after an accident involving a common carrier. To learn more about the legal options that apply to your specific accident, please request a free consultation about your common carrier crash.

What is a Common Carrier in California?

A common carrier is a mode of conveyance that transports people and the company that oversees it as either a public or private entity. The most widely recognized forms of common carriers involve mass transit vehicles like buses, trains, and planes, but there are also many other types.

All of the following fall under the definition of common carriers in California:

Boats and ships are not usually considered common carriers because they operate on water rather than roads under separate rules. However, shipyards and ship owners can often be viewed as common carriers because they are responsible for transporting goods and people.

Vehicle manufacturers and maintenance facilities are common carriers in that they produce and repair modes of transportation. Even a school district or state government can be considered a common carrier because they oversee fleets of vehicles.

What Is a Common Carrier Accident In California?

A common carrier accident occurs when a mode of mass transportation is involved in a crash or incident that harms people and/or property. Whichever entity is responsible for the vehicle or conveyance in question will be involved in handling the details of the crash from their side.

For an ordinary person who collides with one of these vehicles, the situation is complex. You could be driving your car along a California freeway one moment, and the next moment you’re involved in a hectic crash with a transit vehicle that creates a huge problem in your life.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re a passenger in a taxi accident. You’re simply riding in the back seat when the crash causes you painful injuries that require emergency care. After the accident, it could be challenging to get the information you need from either the taxi driver or the other driver involved in the accident. It’s hard to know what kind of accident insurance might apply or how to pursue the common carrier accident claim.

In a situation like this, you’ll need a California common carrier accident lawyer to help you organize your case and pursue the best path to compensation. A lawyer can work with difficult people, ensure you meet legal deadlines, reduce your stress, and give you the best possible chance of securing high-dollar compensation.

Important Things to Know About Common Carrier Cases

Before you start your accident claim, arm yourself with information about how common carriers are expected to operate in the state of California. Common carriers must maintain a high standard of care for anyone they transport. This is a higher standard of care than is expected of the average driver on California’s roads.

Also, the driver may need to hold a special license, like a commercial driver’s license or charter-pay/limousine license. They may be subject to special licensure tests and background checks, so if they’ve failed to pass such requirements this could bolster your accident case against them.

Common carrier cases often face short legal deadlines compared to other cases, especially when government agencies are involved. Normally, you’d have up to two years to start your claim in California, but the deadline for a common carrier case could be as short as six months from the date of your accident.

Other issues to consider are whether the other driver was intoxicated, drove recklessly, was too drowsy to drive, failed to maintain their vehicle, ignored road signs, was exceeding the speed limit, or was too poorly trained to be operating their vehicle safely. Your lawyer can help you sort through all of these issues so you’ll know how they impact your case.

At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we have decades of combined experience in the legal field and we’ve seen plenty of complicated common carrier cases here in California. We’re here to listen to your story with compassion and help you seek the compensation that allows you to move forward with your life.

We Handle Your Common Carrier Accident Claim With Care

After a common carrier accident, please reach out to the attorney team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of personal injury law, including common carrier accidents, accidents involving a passenger in a taxi, and common carrier accidental deaths. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details. Call 877-380-8852 today for a free case evaluation.

Accident Client

If you’re someone who is considering an attorney for a personal accident, I highly recommend Sally Morin and her professional staff of attorneys. If you would like to know more details, feel free to contact me via Yelp and I would be happy to share more details. While I use Yelp quite often, I rarely post reviews… unless I’m truly blown away by great service (or angry with horrible service). If there were a sixth star, I would certainly give it to Rebecca and Sally!

We're here to help with your Personal Injury claim

Check out our Personal Injury FAQ Page to learn more about how the process works.

We Handle Your Personal Injury Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

After an accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many types of traffic injury claims. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details.

We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a
free online case evaluation.


It is essential to know your rights after a traffic accident so you can protect yourself and the value of your claim.
This guide will help you:

  • 1Know what to do when dealing with insurance claims, police reports and lawyers.
  • 2Avoid making mistakes that undermine the value of your claim
  • 3Put yourself in a position to get the best settlement possible