Georgia Common Carrier Laws
Georgia law defines a common carrier as follows:
“A ‘carrier’ is a person who undertakes the transporting of goods or passengers for compensation. A “common carrier” is a person who undertakes to carry, and holds himself/herself out as ready to receive for carriage, goods for hire which the person is accustomed to carry or passengers for hire without discrimination as long as there is room. O.C.G.A. 46-1-1(1).”
Georgia law further provides that “carriers are required to exercise ordinary care.” However, common carriers are required to exercise extraordinary care. In cases of loss, the presumption of law is against them, and “they shall be liable unless the loss was caused (occasioned) by an act of God or the public enemies of the state.” This law makes it much more difficult for the careless party to avoid liability on a motion for summary judgment and would permit a case to go to a jury for consideration.
It is also very important to note that a “common carrier may not limit his/her/its legal liability by any notice given either by publication or by entry on receipts given or tickets sold, except that a common carrier may limit his/her/its liability by means of an express contract”.
A Passenger of a common carrier is defined as a “person who travels in a public conveyance by virtue of a contract, either express or implied, with the carrier as to the payment of the fare or that which is accepted as an equivalent to the fare...” O.C.G.A. § 46-1-1 (10) PUBLIC UTILITIES AND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION – Definitions
Again, it is important to note that “A carrier of passengers must exercise extraordinary care to protect the lives and persons of his/her/its passengers but is not liable for injuries to them after having used such care.” In other words, common carriers my exercise extreme diligence which is defined as “the extreme care and caution that very careful and thoughtful persons use under the same or similar circumstances.”
Finally, “when discharging or letting off a passenger, the carrier is under a duty to exercise extraordinary care for the passenger’s safety. This duty continues until the passenger has been taken to a place where the passenger has freedom of movement and can look out for his/her own safety.”
Limousines are further defined by O.C.G.A. 46-7-85.1 as follows: “Limousine” means any motor vehicle that meets the manufacturer’s specifications for a luxury limousine with a designed seating capacity for no more than ten passengers and with a minimum of five seats located behind the operator of the vehicle, and which does not have a door at the rear of the vehicle designed to allow passenger entry or exit” A “Limousine carrier” means any person operating a prearranged service regularly rendered to the public by furnishing transportation as a motor common carrier for hire, not over fixed routes, by means of one or more unmetered:
- Extended limousines
- Extended sedans
- Sport utility vehicles
- Extended sport utility vehicles
- Other vehicles with a capacity for transporting no more than 10 persons for hire