A common carrier is a company or entity that engages in the business of moving people or goods from one place to another for a fee. This definition covers a variety of companies including city buses, taxicabs, freight trains, aviation, ocean shipping and sometimes even amusement park rides. If you were injured while utilizing a common carrier, like a New York City Transit bus, then you may have a claim for personal injury against the owner/operator of the bus. You, as the plaintiff, need only prove that a particular bus operator was negligent.
Common carriers, like New York City buses, are governed by a regulatory body. The operator of the bus must adhere to these rules, and if that operator fails to follow the rules, then they may have acted negligently. So naturally, these rules are the first way to determine if the bus you were riding was negligently operated or maintained.
A bus might be negligently operated if it lacks proper signage, like warnings regarding stops or where you may stand. There are also the obvious events, like drunken bus drivers, failed brakes or other blatantly clear negligent actions. However, don't think that you are limited to what the regulations state. Everyone is bound by a common code to act decently toward one another.
This common code of behavior is why there are no laws saying you can't throw burning candles onto a busy highway; it is obvious that no one should do that. Bus operators are bound by a similar code of conduct. This means that if the bus does something uncharacteristic, like abrupt braking, then that could also be interpreted as negligent operation.
If you or a loved one was injured while riding on a transit bus, then you might want to speak to a personal injury attorney to review your rights and obligations. Having an actionable claim does not mean that it will sit around and wait for a convenient time for you. A legal professional may be able to parse through the facts of your case and review the law to help you understand what kind of claim you have and any deadlines associated with it.