CACI No. 902. Duty of Common Carrier

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2017 edition)

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902.Duty of Common Carrier
Common carriers must carry passengers [or property] safely. Common
carriers must use the highest care and the vigilance of a very cautious
person. They must do all that human care, vigilance, and foresight
reasonably can do under the circumstances to avoid harm to passengers
[or property].
While a common carrier does not guarantee the safety of its passengers
[or property that it transports], it must use reasonable skill to provide
everything necessary for safe transportation, in view of the
transportation used and the practical operation of the business.
New September 2003
Sources and Authority
• Duty of Common Carrier. Civil Code section 2100.
• “Common carriers bind themselves to carry safely those whom they take into
their vehicles, and owe both a duty of utmost care and the vigilance of a very
cautious person towards their passengers. Such carriers are responsible for any,
even the slightest, negligence and are required to do all that human care,
vigilance, and foresight reasonably can do under all the circumstances.” (Acosta
v. Southern California Rapid Transit Dist. (1970) 2 Cal.3d 19, 27 [84 Cal.Rptr.
184, 465 P.2d 72], internal citations omitted.)
• The elevated standard of care for common carriers is “based on a recognition
that the privilege of serving the public as a common carrier necessarily entails
great responsibility, requiring common carriers to exercise a high duty of care
towards their customers.” (Squaw Valley Ski Corporation v. Superior Court
(1992) 2 Cal.App.4th 1499, 1507 [3 Cal.Rptr.2d 897], internal citations
• Common carriers are not insurers of their passengers’ safety. “Rather, the degree
of care and diligence which they must exercise is only such as can reasonably
be exercised consistent with the character and mode of conveyance adopted and
the practical operation of the business of the carrier.” (Lopez v. Southern Cal.
Rapid Transit Dist. (1985) 40 Cal.3d 780, 785 [221 Cal.Rptr. 840, 710 P.2d
907], internal citations omitted.)
Secondary Sources
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, §§ 923, 925
2Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 23, Carriers, § 23.02 (Matthew Bender)
11 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 109, Carriers (Matthew Bender)
2A California Points and Authorities, Ch. 33, Carriers (Matthew Bender)
22 California Legal Forms, Ch. 54, Shipment of Property, § 54.32 (Matthew
2 California Civil Practice: Torts §§ 28:6–28:9 (Thomson Reuters)

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