It’s “Summertime and the living is easy.” You’ve saved up vacation days and are ready to head out of town to relax with family, friends, or to explore on your own. Perhaps you’re taking a cruise around the Caribbean or backpacking in Peru, maybe you’re going down to Florida to soak up some sun and enjoy the beach life. Your bags are packed and your plans are set, but have you given thought to what you would do if you were hurt or in an accident while away from home? What should you do if you’re in an accident because of someone else’s negligence while traveling?
The bulk of the tourism industry falls under the category of a common carrier. A common carrier is a person or company that transports goods or passengers on regular routes at set rates. An example of this would be a bus tour, passenger jets, even amusement parks in some states, such as California. Common carriers are held to a higher standard of carrier than ordinary carriers, such as individuals. The law provisions that common carriers are liable to any person injured for the full amount of damages unless they can prove that the loss happened in consequence to an Act of God or by the act of the owner of property (June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title II, §?206, 48 Stat. 1072). To hold the carrier liable, you must prove negligence and to do so you’ll need to provide evidence.
Any time you’re involved in an accident it’s important to keep a record of everything that occurred and to gather as much as evidence as possible. To pursue a claim, you’ll need to prove that the carrier breached its responsibility to the injured party. Such proof is key in a negligence claim and can include any of the following:
- Expert witness testimony: The plaintiff may use an expert witness to explain how an injury was caused by the carrier’s supposed negligence. The carrier can also use expert witnesses to prove they acted in a reasonable manner.
- Eyewitness testimony: A fellow passenger of a tour bus, for example, may have personally witnessed the bus driver sneaking drinks from a flask prior to an accident.
- Negligence per se: A cruise ship knowingly circumvents Coast Guard regulations, for instance, resulting in passenger injuries.
- Images: A photograph of a particularly steep and potentially dangerous staircase on a cruise ship, in the absence of signage warning passengers, might provide important evidence of a carrier’s failure to warn.
- Inspection records: If an airplane’s inspection records urge the installation of new landing gear, but the carrier ignores this, the carrier could be held liable for any injuries related to a landing gear failure.
Determining who is liable for these incidents may seem simple at first, but it is not always clear. In the instance of an injury while on a tour bus, there are a host of entities that could be found liable. The tour company may have contracted the bus service, and the bus service contracted the bus drivers. Multiple parties can be held liable for contributory negligence if they are at least partially to blame for the injury-causing accident. “The idea is that an individual has a duty to act as a reasonable person. When a person does not act this way and an injury occurs, that person may be held entirely or partially responsible for the resulting injury, even though another party was involved in the accident.”
Claims that involve more than one party or when you’re going against a large company can be complicated and time-consuming. Knowing how to begin, and determining which parties are responsible can be difficult. In the long run, having someone on your side will save you time and money. When you call Schneider Hammers you can talk directly to a claims specialist to discuss your accident and learn how to go about seeking compensation.