guest statute

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A guest statute is a law in only a few states that prevents a non-paying automobile passenger from suing the driver when the passenger is hurt as a result of the simple negligence of the driver. In general, the passenger can sue the driver only if the driver's actions constitute gross negligence or extreme negligence. Examples might include drunk driving, playing "chicken," driving a car knowing that the brakes are faulty, or continuing to drive recklessly after the passenger has asked the driver to stop or asked to be let out.

In Koger v. Hollahan it was held that the “purpose of the Legislature in passing the automobile guest statute was to prevent one who traveled with another in an automobile as a guest, or without compensation, from recovering unless it was proven that the driver of the automobile was guilty of gross negligence or willful and wanton misconduct."

[Last updated in May of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]