Common Carriers (n)
1732. Common carriers are persons, corporations, firms or associations
engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or
goods or both, by land, water, or air, for compensation, offering
their services to the public.
1733. Common carriers, from the nature of their business and for
reasons of public policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence
in the vigilance over the goods and for the safety of the passengers
transported by them, according to all the circumstances of each
extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods is further
expressed in articles 1734, 1735, and 1745, Nos. 5, 6, and 7, while
the extraordinary diligence for the safety of the passengers is
further set forth in articles 1755 and 1756.
Vigilance Over Goods
1734. Common carriers are responsible for the loss, destruction,
or deterioration of the goods, unless the same is due to any of
the following causes only:
Flood, storm, earthquake, lightning, or other natural disaster or
Act of the public enemy in war, whether international or civil;
Act or omission of the shipper or owner of the goods;
The character of the goods or defects in the packing or in the containers;
Order or act of competent public authority.
1735. In all cases other than those mentioned in Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4,
and 5 of the preceding article, if the goods are lost, destroyed
or deteriorated, common carriers are presumed to have been at fault
or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that they observed
extraordinary diligence as required in article 1733.
1736. The extraordinary responsibility of the common carrier lasts
from the time the goods are unconditionally placed in the possession
of, and received by the carrier for transportation until the same
are delivered, actually or constructively, by the carrier to the
consignee, or to the person who has a right to receive them, without
prejudice to the provisions of article 1738.
1737. The common carrier's duty to observe extraordinary diligence
over the goods remains in full force and effect even when they are
temporarily unloaded or stored in transit, unless the shipper or
owner has made use of the right of stoppage in transitu.
1738. The extraordinary liability of the common carrier continues
to be operative even during the time the goods are stored in a warehouse
of the carrier at the place of destination, until the consignee
has been advised of the arrival of the goods and has had reasonable
opportunity thereafter to remove them or otherwise dispose of them.
1739. In order that the common carrier may be exempted from responsibility,
the natural disaster must have been the proximate and only cause
of the loss. However, the common carrier must exercise due diligence
to prevent or minimize loss before, during and after the occurrence
of flood, storm or other natural disaster in order that the common
carrier may be exempted from liability for the loss, destruction,
or deterioration of the goods. The same duty is incumbent upon the
common carrier in case of an act of the public enemy referred to
in article 1734, No. 2.
1740. If the common carrier negligently incurs in delay in transporting
the goods, a natural disaster shall not free such carrier from responsibility.
1741. If the shipper or owner merely contributed to the loss, destruction
or deterioration of the goods, the proximate cause thereof being
the negligence of the common carrier, the latter shall be liable
in damages, which however, shall be equitably reduced.
1742. Even if the loss, destruction, or deterioration of the goods
should be caused by the character of the goods, or the faulty nature
of the packing or of the containers, the common carrier must exercise
due diligence to forestall or lessen the loss.
1743. If through the order of public authority the goods are seized
or destroyed, the common carrier is not responsible, provided said
public authority had power to issue the order.
1744. A stipulation between the common carrier and the shipper or
owner limiting the liability of the former for the loss, destruction,
or deterioration of the goods to a degree less than extraordinary
diligence shall be valid, provided it be:
In writing, signed by the shipper or owner;
Supported by a valuable consideration other than the service rendered
by the common carrier; and
Reasonable, just and not contrary to public policy.
1745. Any of the following or similar stipulations shall be considered
unreasonable, unjust and contrary to public policy:
That the goods are transported at the risk of the owner or shipper;
That the common carrier will not be liable for any loss, destruction,
or deterioration of the goods;
That the common carrier need not observe any diligence in the custody
of the goods;
That the common carrier shall exercise a degree of diligence less
than that of a good father of a family, or of a man of ordinary
prudence in the vigilance over the movables transported;
That the common carrier shall not be responsible for the acts or
omission of his or its employees;
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;
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.
1746. An agreement limiting the common carrier's liability may be
annulled by the shipper or owner if the common carrier refused to
carry the goods unless the former agreed to such stipulation.
1747. If the common carrier, without just cause, delays the transportation
of the goods or changes the stipulated or usual route, the contract
limiting the common carrier's liability cannot be availed of in
case of the loss, destruction, or deterioration of the goods.
1748. An agreement limiting the common carrier's liability for delay
on account of strikes or riots is valid.
1749. A stipulation that the common carrier's liability is limited
to the value of the goods appearing in the bill of lading, unless
the shipper or owner declares a greater value, is binding.
1750. A contract fixing the sum that may be recovered. by the owner
or shipper for the loss, destruction, or deterioration of the goods
is valid, if it is reasonable and just under the circumstances,
and has been fairly and freely agreed upon.
1751. The fact that the common carrier has no competitor along the
line or route, or a part thereof, to which the contract refers shall
be taken into consideration on the question of whether or not a
stipulation limiting the common carrier's liability is reasonable,
just and in consonance with public policy.
1752. Even when there is an agreement limiting the liability of
the common carrier in the vigilance over the goods, the common carrier
is disputably presumed to have been negligent in case of their loss,
destruction or deterioration.
1753. The law of the country to which the goods are to be transported
shall govern the liability of the common carrier for their loss,
destruction or deterioration.
1754. The provisions of articles 1733 to 1753 shall apply to the
passenger's baggage which is not in his personal custody or in that
of his employee. As to other baggage, the rules in articles 1998
and 2000 to 2003 concerning the responsibility of hotel-keepers
shall be applicable.
Safety of Passengers
1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as
far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence
of very cautious persons, with a due regard for all the circumstances.
1756. In case of death of or injuries to passengers, common carriers
are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently,
unless they prove that they observed extraordinary diligence as
prescribed in articles 1733 and 1755.
1757. The responsibility of a common carrier for the safety of passengers
as required in articles 1733 and 1755 cannot be dispensed with or
lessened by stipulation, by the posting of notices, by statements
on tickets, or otherwise.
1758. When a passenger is carried gratuitously, a stipulation limiting
the common carrier's liability for negligence is valid, but not
for wilful acts or gross negligence.
reduction of fare does not justify any limitation of the common
1759. Common carriers are liable for the death of or injuries to
passengers through the negligence or wilful acts of the former's
employees, although such employees may have acted beyond the scope
of their authority or in violation of the orders of the common carriers.
liability of the common carriers does not cease upon proof that
they exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family in
the selection and supervision of their employees.
1760. The common carrier's responsibility prescribed in the preceding
article cannot be eliminated or limited by stipulation, by the posting
of notices, by statements on the tickets or otherwise.
1761. The passenger must observe the diligence of a good father
of a family to avoid injury to himself.
1762. The contributory negligence of the passenger does not bar
recovery of damages for his death or injuries, if the proximate
cause thereof is the negligence of the common carrier, but the amount
of damages shall be equitably reduced.
1763. A common carrier is responsible for injuries suffered by a
passenger on account of the wilful acts or negligence of other passengers
or of strangers, if the common carrier's employees through the exercise
of the diligence of a good father of a family could have prevented
or stopped the act or omission.
1764. Damages in cases comprised in this Section shall be awarded
in accordance with Title XVIII of this Book, concerning Damages.
Article 2206 shall also apply to the death of a passenger caused
by the breach of contract by a common carrier.
1765. The Public Service Commission may, on its own motion or on
petition of any interested party, after due hearing, cancel the
certificate of public convenience granted to any common carrier
that repeatedly fails to comply with his or its duty to observe
extraordinary diligence as prescribed in this Section.
1766. In all matters not regulated by this Code, the rights and
obligations of common carriers shall be governed by the Code of
Commerce and by special laws.