Earlier this month, an appellate court in California issued a written opinion in a personal injury case brought by a woman who was injured while she was boarding a free shuttle operated by the defendant casino. In the case, Huang v. The Bicycle Casino, the appellate court reversed a lower court’s ruling that had granted the casino’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the shuttle was not a common carrier and that the casino’s duty did not extend to preventing the type of injury the plaintiff sustained.
Huang was a frequent casino patron. As a part of the casino’s marketing strategy, it operated a free shuttle to pick up certain patrons throughout the city at numerous stops. However, the shuttles ran every hour, and these stops would often have more people waiting at them than the shuttle had room to transport.
On the day in question, there were between 40 and 70 people waiting for the shuttle. The shuttle could only carry 45 people. As the shuttle pulled up, the crowd rushed to get on board, and Huang was injured as she tried to get on the bus. She filed a personal injury lawsuit against the casino, claiming that it was operating as a common carrier and had a duty to prevent this kind of injury.
In general, buses, taxis, passenger trains, and airplanes are all common carriers. Common carriers have a duty to their passengers to ensure safe travel. The duty of a common carrier to protect its passengers is greater than if no relationship existed between the parties. Thus, Huang was claiming that the duty was violated when the casino failed to ensure the passengers lined up and boarded the bus safely.
The casino argued that it was not a common carrier, and any duty it had to Huang did not extend to protecting her from other passengers. The trial court agreed with the casino and dismissed the case. Huang appealed.
The appellate court first held that the determination of whether the casino was operating as a common carrier was a decision that should have been reserved for the jury rather than decided as a preliminary matter by the judge. Second, the court held that even if the casino was not operating as a common carrier, the casino’s duty included preventing the type of harm suffered by Huang. In the end, the court reversed the lower court’s decision and ordered that the casino’s motion be denied.
Have You Been Injured on a Shuttle or Bus?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of shuttle or car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Common carriers owe a high duty to their passengers to protect them from many kinds of harm, and when an injury does result, they can often be held accountable. Call the South Florida personal injury lawyers at Cecere Santana at 800-753-5529 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case. With experience handling thousands of personal injury cases, the attorneys at Cecere Santana are confident they can help you with yours.
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