Common Carriers are persons, corporations, firms or associations engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods or both, by land water air, for compensation, offering their service to the public.
Elements of a common carrier:
a. persons' corporations, firms or associations
b. engaged in the businessof carrying or transportingpassengers, goods or both
c. means of carriage is by land, water or air
d. the carrying of passengers , goods or both is for compensation
e. the service is offered to the public without distinction.
-Engaged in the business is deemed to cover operations whether regular or scheduled, occasional, episodic or unscheduled.
- One is a common carrier even if he has no fixed and publicly known route, maintains no terminals and issues no ticket.
- The true test of whether the character of the use is whether the public may enjoy it by right or by permission. Note that the contract of transportation is a consensual contract. Hence, a common carrier engages in a continuous offer. If you flag a common carrier down, the contract becomes perfected and is consistent with the idea that entering with a contract with the common carrier is a matter of right and not permission. You would know when the carrier you are going to flag down is a common carrier because it should hold itself out principally as such.
- Recovery from a contract of private carriage, requires a contract, that there was negligence, and that the goods are lost. On the other hand, recovery from a contract with a common carrier, only requires the contract and that the goods were lost. This is so because of the presumption of negligence.
- Regardless of whether the object are goods or passengers,a common carrier mus observe extra-ordinary diligence.
- If loss, destruction or deterioration of the goods occurs or death or physical injuries is suffered by a passenger, there is a presumption of negligence that arises. The presumption may only be overcome by a showing that the required degree of diligence has been observed or that Article 1735 applies in the case of goods. In case of passengers, only the former.
- The following or similar stipulations shall be considered unreasonable, unjust and contrary to public policy:
a. that the common carrier shall not be responsible for the acts or omissions of its or his employees
b. that the common carrier's liability for acts committed by thieves, or of robbers who do not act with grave or irresistible threat, violence or force, is dispensed with or diminished.
c. that the common carrier is not responsible for the loss, destruction, or deterioration of goods on account of the defective condition of the car, vehicle, ship, airplane or other equipment used in the contract of carriage.