§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).