Common Carriers Such as Airlines, Buses, and Train Operators Have a Duty to Warn Boarding and Exiting Passengers of Dangers When They Are Known to the Carrier and Not Known to Passengers
Many times I am contacted by clients who have sustained horrific injuries entering or exiting buses, trains, and planes, otherwise known as common carriers. The law maintains that the common carrier has a duty to warn passengers of dangers which it knows or ought to know and of which the passenger is ignorant, especially a danger which existed at a place other than a regular stopping place. For example, if there is ice on the steps of the vehicle or obstructions or defects in the street where the bus has stopped, or if there is a danger from passing vehicles from the approach of another vehicle, or if the ground is slippery where the passenger is about to exit, the carrier may be held responsible.
Additionally, if a train stops at a train station where there is an abnormal gap or space between the train and the platform, the carrier may be held responsible if a passenger slips and falls. The duty of the carrier may even be increased if, in fact, a passenger requests special attention due to special needs when boarding or exiting the vehicle when an employee or agent of the carrier fails to provide assistance. The carrier’s duty is not absolute unless the carrier knows or has reason to know of dangers.