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BILL OF LADING

It is a written acknowledgement of receipt of goods and agreement to transport them to a specific


place and to a named person or to his order.

LIABILITY OF THE REGISTERED OWNER OF THE VEHICLE

May the registered owner of the vehicle be held liable for damages suffered by a third
person in the course of the operation of the vehicle?

Yes. The registered owner of a public service vehicle is responsible for damages that may arise
from consequences incident to its operation or that may be caused to any of the passengers
therein (Gelisan v. Alday, G.R. No. L-30212, Sept 30, 1987). Also, the liability of the registered
owner of a public service vehicle for damages arising from the tortious acts of the driver is primary,
direct, and joint and several or solidary with the driver. (Philtranco Service Enterprises, Inc. v. CA,
G.R. No. 120553)

LIABILITY FOR DAMAGES CAUSED BY MECHANICAL DEFECTS OF EQUIPMENTS

Is a carrier liable to its passengers for damages caused by mechanical defects of


equipments or appliances installed in the carrier?

Yes, whenever it appears that the defect would have been discovered by the carrier if it had
exercised the degree of care which under the circumstances was incumbent upon it, with regard to
inspection and application of the necessary tests. The manufacturer is considered as being in law
the agent or servant of the carrier, as far as regards the work of constructing the appliance. The
good repute of the manufacturer will not relieve the carrier from liability. The rationale of the
carrier's liability is the fact that the passenger has neither choice nor control over the carrier in the
selection and use of the equipment and appliances in use by the carrier. Having no privity whatever
with the manufacturer or vendor of the defective equipment, the passenger has no remedy against
him, while the carrier usually has. It is but logical, therefore, that the carrier, while not in insurer of
the safety of his passengers, should nevertheless be held to answer for the flaws of his equipment
if such flaws were at all discoverable. (Necesito v. Paras, G.R. No. L-10605, June 30, 1958)

WHAT IS ASSUMPTION OF RISK ON THE PART OF PASSENGERS?

Passengers must take such risks incident to the mode of travel. Note: Carriers are not insurers of
any and all risks to passengers and goods. It merely undertakes to perform certain duties to the
public as the law imposes, and holds itself liable for any breach thereof. (Pilapil v. CA, G.R. No.
52159, Dec. 22, 1989)

ABOITIZ SHIPPING CORPORATION VS. CA, GR NO. 84458, NOVEMBER 6, 1989


Is the victim’s presence in a vessel after 1 hour from his disembarkation was no longer
reasonable and he consequently ceased to be a passenger?

No. Carrier-‐passenger relationship continues until the passenger has been landed at the port of
destination and has left the vessel-‐owner’s premises (Aboitiz Shipping Corporation vs. CA, GR No.
84458, November 6, 1989)

INJURY WHILE TRYING TO BOARD THE VEHICLE

May a common carrier be held liable to a passenger who was injured and eventually died
while trying to board the vehicle?

Yes. It is the duty of common carriers of passengers to afford passengers an opportunity to board
and enter, and they are liable for injuries suffered by boarding passengers resulting from the
sudden starting up or jerking of their conveyances while they are doing so. The victim, by stepping
and standing on the platform of the bus, is already considered a passenger and is entitled all the
rights and protection pertaining to such a contractual relation. (Dangwa Transportation Co., Inc. v.
CA, G.R. No. 95582, Oct. 7, 1991)

PILAPIL V. CA, G.R. NO. 52159, DEC. 22, 1989

A passenger was injured because a bystander outside the bus hurled a stone. Is the bus company
liable?

No. There is no showing that any such incident previously happened so as to impose an obligation
on the part of the personnel of the bus company to warn the passengers and to take the necessary
precaution. Such hurling of a stone constitutes fortuitous event in this case. The bus company is
not an insurer of the absolute safety of its passengers. (Pilapil v. CA, G.R. No. 52159, Dec. 22,
1989) (1994 Bar Question)

NOCUM V. LAGUNA TAYABAS BUS COMPANY, G.R. NO. L-23733, OCT. 31, 1969

In a jeepney, Angela, a passenger, was injured because of the flammable material brought
by Antonette, another passenger. Antonette denied her baggage to be inspected invoking
her right to privacy. Should the jeepney operator be held liable for damages?

No. The operator is not liable for damages. In overland transportation, the common carrier is not
bound nor empowered to make an examination on the contents of packages or bags, particularly
those handcarried by passengers. (Nocum v. Laguna Tayabas Bus Company, G.R. No. L-23733,
Oct. 31, 1969)

ARE COMMON CARRIERS LIABLE FOR ACTS OF ITS EMPLOYEES?

Common carriers are liable for the death of or injuries to passengers through the negligence or
willful 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. The 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. (Art. 1759)

What is the rationale behind this principle?

The basis of the carrier's liability for assaults on passengers committed by its drivers rests on the
principle that it is the carrier's implied duty to transport the passenger safely. As between the
carrier and the passenger, the former must bear the risk of wrongful acts or negligence of the
carrier's employees against passengers, since it, and not the passengers, has power to select and
remove them. (Maranan v. Perez, G.R. No. L-‐ 22272, June 26, 1967)

LA MALLORCA VS. CA, GR L-20761, 27 JULY 1966

Robert De Alban and his family rode a bus owned by Joeben Bus Company. Upon reaching
their desired destination, they alighted from the bus but Robert returned to get their
baggage. However, his youngest daughter followed him without his knowledge. When he
stepped into the bus again, the bus accelerated that resulting to Robert’s daughter death.
The bus ran over her. Is the bus company liable?

Yes. The relation of carrier and passenger does not cease at the moment the passenger alights
from the carrier’s vehicle at a place selected by the carrier at the point of destination, but continues
until the passenger has had a reasonable time or reasonable opportunity to leave the current
premises (La Mallorca vs. CA, GR L-20761, 27 July 1966).

IS A PERSON MERE STEPPING ON THE PLATFORM OF A BUS ALREADY CONSIDERED A


PASSENGER?

Yes. The person, by stepping and standing on the platform of the bus, is already considered a
passenger and is entitled all the rights and protection pertaining to such a contractual relation.
Hence, it has been held that the duty which the carrier owes to its patrons extends to persons
boarding cars as well as to those alighting therefrom (Dangwa vs. CA, G.R. No. 95582, October 7,
1991).

DANGWA VS. CA, G.R. NO. 95582, OCTOBER 7, 1991

If the bus started moving slowly when the passenger is boarding the same, is the passenger
negligent?

No. Further, even assuming that the bus was moving, the act of the victim in boarding the same
cannot be considered negligent under the circumstances. As clearly explained in the testimony of
the aforestated witness for petitioners, Virginia Abalos, the bus had "just started" and "was still in
slow motion" at the point where the victim had boarded and was on its platform. (Dangwa vs. CA,
G.R. No. 95582, October 7, 1991)

INTENTION TO BOARD
When a Public Utility Vehicle is not in motion, is there a necessity for a person who wants to
ride the same to signal his intention to board?

No. When the bus is not in motion there is no necessity for a person who wants to ride the same to
signal his intention to board. A public utility bus, once it stops, is in effect making a continuous offer
to bus riders. Hence, it becomes the duty of the driver and the conductor, every time the bus stops,
to do no act that would have the effect of increasing the peril to a passenger while he was
attempting to board the same. The premature acceleration of the bus in this case was a breach of
such duty. (Dangwa vs. CA, G.R. No. 95582, October 7, 1991)

LOSS OF A VALUABLE ITEM STOLEN BY OTHER PASSENGERS

Could a common carrier be held liable for the loss of a valuable item stolen by other
passenger when the victim told the driver that he has valuable item?

Yes. Ordinarily, the common carrier is not liable for acts of other passengers. But the common
carrier cannot relieve itself from liability if the common carrier’s employees could have prevented
the act or omission by exercising due diligence. In this case, the passenger asked the driver to
keep an eye on the bag which was placed beside the driver’s seat. If the driver exercised due
diligence, he could have prevented the loss of the bag. (1997 Bar Question)

LU DO & LU YM CORP. V. BINAMIRA, G.R. NO. L-9840, APR. 22, 1957

To whom should delivery be made?

It must be delivered, actually or constructively, to the consignee or to the person who has a right to
receive them. Note: Delivery of the cargo to the customs authorities is not delivery to the
consignee, or to the person who has a right to receive them. (Lu Do & Lu Ym Corp. v. Binamira,
G.R. No. L-9840, Apr. 22, 1957)

CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE SHIPPER

What is the rule if there is contributory negligence on the part of the shipper?

General Rule:

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 for
damages, which however, shall be equitably reduced. (Art. 1741)

Exception:

In a collision case and allision cases, the parties are liable for their own damages.

LIABILITY OF THE CARRIER IF THERE IS DELAY

If there is delay in the delivery of goods, what is the liability of the carrier?

The carrier shall be liable for damages immediately and proximately resulting from such neglect of
duty. (Saludo, Jr. v. CA, GR No. 95536, Mar. 23, 1992)
RULES REGARDING THE TIME OF DELIVERY OF GOODS AND DELAY

What are the rules regarding the time of delivery of goods and delay?

1. If there is an agreement as to time of delivery – delivery must be within the time stipulated in the
contract or bill of lading

2. If there is no agreement – delivery must be within a reasonable time. (Saludo, Jr. v. CA, G.R.
No. 95536, Mar. 23, 1992)

LIABILTY OF A COMMON CARRIER FOR ACTS OF CRIMINALS

Is a common carrier liable for the acts of strangers or criminals?

Yes. A common carrier is liable even for acts of strangers like thieves or robbers.

Exception: where such thieves or robbers acted "with grave or irresistible threat, violence or force."
The common carrier is not liable for the value of the undelivered merchandise which was lost
because of an event that is beyond his control. (De Guzman v. CA, G.R. No. L-47822, Dec. 22,
1988)

FIRE AS NATURAL DISASTER

Is fire considered a natural disaster?

No. This must be so as it arises almost invariably from some act of man or by human means. It
does not fall within the category of an act of God unless caused by lightning or by other natural
disaster or calamity. It may even be caused by the actual fault or privity of the carrier (Eastern
Shipping Lines v. IAC, G.R. No. L-69044, May 29, 1987).

Note: In case that the goods have been already deposited in the warehouse of Bureau of Customs
then the goods was destroyed by fire, the carrier is not anymore liable (Sevando vs. Philippine
Steam Navigation, G.R. No. L-‐36481-2, October 23, 1982).

LIABILITY WITH REGARD TO MORAL DAMAGES

What is the liability with regard to moral damages in a breach contract of carriage?

General Rule: Moral damages are not recoverable for breach of contract of carriage in view
of Art. 2219-‐20 of the Civil Code.

Exceptions:

1. Where the mishap results in the death of the passenger

2. Where it is proved that the common carrier was guilty of fraud or bad faith, even if death does
not result.

ABOITIZ SHIPPING CORP. V. CA, G.R. NO. 84458, NOV. 6, 1989


When does the duty to exercise extraordinary diligence commence and cease with respect
to transport of passengers?

The duty of the common carrier commence from the moment the person who purchases the ticket
from the carrier presents himself at the proper place and in a proper manner to be transported. The
relation of carrier and passenger continues until the passenger has been landed at the port of
destination and has left the vessel owner's dock or premises. Once created, the relationship will not
ordinarily terminate until the passenger has, after reaching his destination, safely alighted from the
carrier's conveyance or had a reasonable opportunity to leave the carrier's premises. (Aboitiz
Shipping Corp. v. CA, G.R. No. 84458, Nov. 6, 1989)
WHEN DOES LIABILITY OF THE COMMON CARRIER COMMENCE IN CONNECTION TO THE
TRANSFER OF GOODS?
It begins with the actual delivery of the goods for transportation, and not merely with the formal
execution of a receipt or bill of lading; the issuance of a bill of lading is not necessary to complete
delivery and acceptance. (Compania Maritima v. Insurance Co. of North America, G.R. No. L-
18965, Oct. 30, 1964)