Automobile Guest Statutes

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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What is an Automobile Guest Statute?

An "automobile guest statute" is a law that prohibits car passengers from suing the driver for injuries suffered in an accident.  These statutes only apply to "non-paying" passengers.  So, automobile guest statutes do not apply to passengers in taxis, buses, or other public transportation.  

Does Every State have Automobile Guest Statutes? 

These statutes only exist in a few states.  The states with automobile guest statutes require that the driver operated the vehicle in a grossly negligent or reckless manner to be liable for passenger injuries.  Most states hold a driver liable if he operates the vehicle in an ordinary negligent manner.        

Would Should I Do If I was Injured as a Passenger in a Vehicle?

Regardless of the existence of an automobile guest statute in your state, you should still take the following actions if involved in an accident: 

Can my Actions as a Passenger Affect What I Can Recover from the Accident?

Some states limit or prohibit recovery if you are partially responsible for your injuries.  For example, in California, if you didn't have your seat belt on in an accident, the amount you could recover would be limited.  Also, being partially responsible for causing the accident (e.g., distracting the driver) may severely limit your recovery.  

Should I Get a Lawyer if I was Involved in a Car Accident as a Passenger? 

If you suffered an injury as a result of an auto accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about your rights, defenses, and the complicated legal system.  Auto accident injuries can be very devastating; a personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation.

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Last Modified: 07-03-2012 01:48 PM PDT

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