Month: May 2017

Is Your Car Accident Claim Barred by the Alabama Guest Passenger Statute?

distracted driving liabilityLet’s say your friend is giving you a ride to dinner and you are severely injured in an accident due to your friend’s negligence in carelessly failing to yield the right of way. Believe it or not, your friend is not liable to you for your injuries due to the Alabama Guest Passenger Statute. Many are surprised to learn that under the law, a passenger cannot sue his or her driver for injuries caused by the driver’s negligence because the passenger is classified as a “guest” in the driver’s car. Ala. Code § 32-1-2. If payment is provided to the driver, the rider is instead classified as a passenger, and the statute is inapplicable. The Alabama Guest Passenger Statute is intended to protect drivers from negligence claims under the rationale that drivers should not be liable when providing rides free of charge to “guests.” Payment does not have to be in dollar form; it can be anything of tangible value provided to compensate the driver for the ride. While the law’s intentions are noble, the practical effect is that drivers are relieved from exercising ordinary care for their passengers. Normally, a driver is responsible after failing to exercise ordinary care such as running a red light or failing to yield the right of way. However, the statute relieves drivers from liability from their guests.  

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