- Guest statute
A guest statute is a term used in the
lawof tortsto describe a statutethat makes it more difficult for a passengerin an automobileto recover damages from the driver for injuries received in an accident resulting from ordinary negligence on the part of the driver. Instead, passengers are limited to suits based on gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct. The statute may also place a cap on the damages to be awarded, or limit damages to compensation for actual physical injuries.
The purpose of the guest statute is both to protect drivers from
frivolous litigationand to protect insurance companiesfrom collusive and fraudulent suits (wherein the passenger sues the driver in order to collect from the driver's insurer). For the same reason, some states also passed aviation guest statutes, which limit the liability of non-commercial airplane passengers. However, guest statutes now appear to have been abolished in all states except Alabama ( [http://www.legislature.state.al.us/CodeofAlabama/1975/32-1-2.htm Ala. Code § 32-1-2] ) and Texas ( [http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/CP/content/htm/cp.004.00.000072.00.htm#72.001.00 Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 72.001] ), either legislatively or by the courts.
* [http://av8r.net/columns/legaleagles.cfm?printable=1 Legal Issues in Accidents and the Status of Passengers]
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