Common Carrier Accident

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Skilled Mississippi Public Transportation Mass Transit Accidents Lawyers Stand Up to Negligent Service Providers

Handling taxi, bus, plane, and train accidents throughout the Gulf Coast

Common carriers provide a valuable service, transporting individuals in an efficient, and sometimes fun, manner. From the Marion County Recreational Railroad to the CTA beach trolleys of the Gulf Coast, Mississippi residents and tourists count on these companies to get them to and from their respective destinations. However, when the owners and operators of these vehicles fail to exercise reasonable care, they can cause serious injuries.

At Merkel & Cocke, P.A., our legal team has handled numerous common carrier accident cases. Whether you were injured on an airplane or a cruise ship, we have the knowledge and resources to obtain the compensation you deserve. Our skilled Mississippi accident lawyers have more than 200 years of collective experience, and we use it to provide each client high-quality legal representation.

What is a common carrier?

Common carriers or mass transit providers are companies or organizations that transport individuals on a regular basis. Airlines, passenger railways, taxicabs, and busses are all examples of common carriers. These companies have a duty to provide every single passenger with the safest and most secure ride possible. This means that they are required to follow industry safety standards and take reasonable measures to keep passengers secure. When common carriers fail to meet this duty, they may be held liable for any resulting injuries.

Examples of public transportation common carriers in our area

Have you ever ridden one of the Gulf Coast Ducks down on the beach or taken a ride on Pullman Rail? These are both examples of common carriers. In our part of the state, we have two major hubs for air travel –  Jackson–Evers International Airport, and Gulfport–Biloxi International Airport – and three local airports as well: Mid-Delta Regional., Tupelo Regional, and Olive Branch. Even Clarksdale has Fletcher Field.

City bus, tour bus, van shuttles, taxis and cabs are part of the public transportation or common carriers

If you left one of the airports we just mentioned and hopped in a Yellow Cab, took an Uber, or hopped on a JATRAN in Jackson, you have engaged the services of a common carrier.

Although airport shuttles, taxis, cabs and tour buses are privately owned, they are considered to be part of the public transportation system and thus they are common carriers subject to a duty of care to ensure the safe transport of the public.

By contrast, some cities have “gypsy cabs,” which are unregulated vehicles driven by individuals who pick up and drop off pedestrians for a fee. These types of cabs are illegal, not common carriers, and if a passenger were to become injured in a crash in a gypsy cab, there may only be limited coverage under the driver’s regular car insurance policy. Therefore, pedestrians must be aware that hailing a ride in an unlicensed, unregulated for-hire vehicle could be a dangerous gamble.

Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing companies are not common carriers

When you opt for the convenience of being able hire a ride from an app on your phone that appears at your door in minutes, do you know who is responsible if the driver gets into an accident and you are injured? Rideshare drivers, who are contractors and not employees of Uber or Lyft, do have liability coverage for passengers. Yes, Uber and Lyft are more convenient than calling and waiting for a cab, or standing at a bus stop, but it is important to know that they are not common carriers and the drivers of those cars that you hop into are not professional drivers.

Plane, helicopter and airport-related injuries

Aside from dozens of local and international airports here in Mississippi, you can also charter helicopter rides from companies like RushCube in Jackson or Gulfport, making it easy to get around by air travel.

Merkel & Cocke handles all manner of air travel-related injury claims, including:

  • Plane or helicopter crashes
  • Injuries sustained when a plane slides off a runway
  • Burns and toxic smoke inhalation
  • Improper handling of a medical emergency
  • Bags and luggage falling from overhead compartments
  • “Runaway” drink and snack carts
  • Slips and falls in wet terminals
  • Falls or trips in airports
  • Being hit by luggage carts on the blacktop
  • Falls down rolling stairs for smaller vehicles

Our team has the resources and experience to handle complex claims involving charter vehicles, commercial planes, and tour planes and choppers. We also work with people who sustain injuries while being transported via medical helicopter to a hospital or emergency care facility, as well as oil field workers who were injured while being transported to an off-shore rig, either in Mississippi or in neighboring states.

Train crashes and derailments

Train crashes and derailments are uncommon relative to other forms of transportation, but it seems that there have been many train accidents in the news for the past few months. The Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis reports that there were 1,625 accidents or incidents involving trains in the United States in 2017 with 8,488 non-fatal and 871 fatalities, which was an increase of 13.1 (fatalities) over the previous year. Train accidents can cause injury and death to train passengers, pedestrians, the drivers of other vehicles and railroad employees both on the train and working for the railroad. There are different types of train accidents including derailments, trains colliding with other trains, trains colliding with cars or trucks in a railway crossing, and railroad accidents.

Trains are considered common carriers, and while a common carrier does owe the passenger a higher duty of care, a person injured in a crash must still prove negligence on the part of the carrier.

Understanding the complexities of common carrier accidents

Common carriers are businesses, and, like any other business, their primary focus is profit. While there is nothing wrong with operating a profitable business, there is something wrong with sacrificing safety standards to do so. These types of negligent business practices place innocent passengers at risk of injury or death. Our legal team has seen various injuries caused by such system failures as:

  • Faulty equipment
  • Defective equipment
  • Inadequate vehicle maintenance
  • Negligent hiring
  • Owner negligence
  • Operator negligence
  • Improper operator training
  • Lack of necessary safety standards and equipment

Many common carriers or public transportation services are owned and operated by government entities, such as JATRAN. Public entities may also be liable for injuries resulting from airplane or boating accidents that occur on government property, like Lake Lee in Tombigbee State Park. Our reputable accident attorneys do not back down when it is time to hold public entities accountable. We understand the complexities of these cases and how to pursue the best possible outcomes for our clients.

Call on knowledgeable Mississippi lawyers if you were hurt in a crash by a common carrier vehicle

At Merkel & Cocke, we have the experience you need to get the compensation you deserve after a common carrier accident. From our offices in Jackson, Oxford, and Clarksdale, we assist injured parties throughout Mississippi, including Tupelo and across the Gulf Coast region. We also handle common carrier injury cases occurring in Tennessee and Arkansas. Call us today at 662-799-1633 or complete our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation with our experienced lawyers.

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