Picture of John Day

§49.1 Common Carriers – Duty to Passengers

The Case : Schindler v. Southern Coach Lines, 217 S.W.2d 775 (Tenn. 1949).

The Basic Facts: The plaintiff ran to catch the bus. The doors were closed and she requested that they be opened. The driver opened the doors but when they opened the knocked the plaintiff to the ground causing serious injury. The plaintiff alleged that the bus driver had a duty to make certain that she would not be hit by the bus doors as they opened and that the bus driver's failure to perform this duty resulted in plaintiff's injuries.

The Bottom Line:

  • "... the public carrier is charged with the exercise of a high degree of care as distinguished from ordinary care, with reference to those who are passengers on its vehicle." 217 S.W.2d at 775.
  • "...the defendant owed to the plaintiff the highest degree of care for her safety consistent with the general practical conduct of its business. Greyhound Lines, Inc. v. Patterson, 14 Tenn. App. 651, 656, 657; Tennessee Coach Co. v. Young, [80 S.W.2d 107]. 'There would seem to be general accord upon the proposition that the same high degree of care is required of the carrier as to passengers when entering or leaving the vehicle as when being transported therein.' [10 Am. Jur. § 1348, 924]." Id. at 779.

Other Sources of Note: Duckworth v. Greyhound Lines, Inc. , 469 F.2d 424 (6th Cir. 1972) (holding that common carriers owe a duty to their passengers to exercise the highest degree of care consistent with human knowledge and experience and compatible with the nature, extent and operations of their business).

After an accident, many injury victims and their families want more information on the accident and their legal rights. Consequently, many of them have found their way to these pages. While we are happy you are here, please understand Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law was written to be a quick, invaluable reference for Tennessee tort lawyers. While the book provides the leading case for more than 300 tort law subjects and thousands of related case citations, it is not a substitute for personalized legal advice from a qualified lawyer.

Rather than researching these legal issues alone, we urge you to contact one of our award-winning lawyers who can sit down with you, review your case, answer your questions and clearly explain your rights and your options in a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced attorneys handle all personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency basis, so we only get paid if we win. If for any reason you are unable to come to our office, we will gladly come to you.

To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call us at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866.812.8787.

The foregoing is an excerpt from Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law, published by John A. Day, Civil Trial Specialist, Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, recipient of Best Lawyers in America recognition, Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ rated attorney, and Top 100 Tennessee Mid-South Super Lawyers designee. Read John’s full bio here.

To order a copy of the book, visit www.dayontortsbook.com. John also blogs regularly on key issues for tort lawyers. To subscribe to the Day on Torts blog, visit www.dayontorts.com.

Client Reviews
Everything was great. You guys are a great representative. I was satisfied with everything. Truly appreciate John Day and his hard-working staff. Jamar Gibson
We thought that you did an excellent job in representing us in our lawsuit. We would recommend you to anyone. Mitch Deese
The Law Offices of John Day, P.C. is, without a doubt, the best in Nashville! They treated me with the utmost respect and tended to my every need. No question went unanswered. I was always kept informed of every step in the process. I received phenomenal results; I couldn't ask for more. I would definitely hire The Law Offices of John Day, P.C. again. Anthony Santiago
I would definitely recommend to anyone to hire John Day's law firm because everyone was helpful, made everything clear and got the job done. I am satisfied with how my case was handled. June Keomahavong
It's been a long battle but this firm has been very efficient and has done a remarkable job for me! I highly recommend them to anyone needing legal assistance. Everyone has always been very kind and kept me informed of all actions promptly. Linda Bush
I had a great experience with the Law Offices of John Day. The staff was very accommodating, and my phone calls/emails were always responded to in a timely manner. They made the entire process very easy and stress-free for me, and I had confidence that my case was in good hands. I am very happy with the results, and I highly recommend! Casey Hutchinson