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Passengers Suing Drivers For An Accident- the Indiana “Guest Statute” Your Indiana Accident Lawyers

William Bill Hurst

Normally, the operator of a motor vehicle has an obligation to exercise “reasonable care” for the safety and protection of his passengers. Most states, including Indiana, have modified that obligation through the enactment of a “Guest Statute” (IC 34-30-11-1). The purpose of a guest statute is to limit the circumstances under which a passenger can recover for personal injuries or death from the driver of a motor vehicle in which he was a passenger.

The Indiana Supreme Court recently discussed the application of Indiana’s Guest Passenger statute which protects negligent drivers against claims for negligence by certain designated passengers when the passengers are being transported “in or upon the motor vehicle.”

Being ‘in or upon the motor vehicle”’ thus connotes a physical connection to or contact with the vehicle…This understanding is consistent with the statute’s further limiting phrase, “while [the guest] was being transported.” Thus, if the injury is sustained at a time when a passenger is in mere physical contact with the motor vehicle but standing outside of or off of it or at a time when the passenger is not being “transported” by the vehicle, then the Indiana Guest Statute does not bar a passenger’s damage action against the driver. Clark v. Clark, 971 N.E.2d 58, 62 (Ind. 2012).

As previously stated, the Statue only applies to certain listed individuals: the person’s parent; the person’s spouse; the person’s child or stepchild; the person’s brother; the person’s sister; or a hitchhiker. For those listed individuals, lawsuits against the driver are limited to situations where injuries or death of the passenger were caused by the “wanton or willful misconduct” of the driver; in other words, if negligence only is proved, then passengers claims are without merit.

The stated purposes of such statutes are to foster hospitality by limiting lawsuits brought by “ungrateful” guests, to prevent collusion between the passenger and driver, and promote family harmony.

 

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FAQs
Our Fees

It cost $0 up front to hire our office. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay us if we settle your case or obtain a verdict on your behalf.

If we’re unable to obtain a settlement of verdict for you we eat the costs we’ve advanced to litigate your case, which includes costs for ordering medical records, filing your case, hiring experts, deposing witnesses, and many other things.

If we do settle your case or obtain a verdict for you our standard rate is 33% of the settlement or verdict, plus reimbursement for the expense we’ve previously advanced. Our fee never increases like some personal injury attorneys, even if we have to take your case to trial.

Our Fees

It cost $0 up front to hire our office. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay us if we settle your case or obtain a verdict on your behalf.

If we’re unable to obtain a settlement of verdict for you we eat the costs we’ve advanced to litigate your case, which includes costs for ordering medical records, filing your case, hiring experts, deposing witnesses, and many other things.

If we do settle your case or obtain a verdict for you our standard rate is 33% of the settlement or verdict, plus reimbursement for the expense we’ve previously advanced. Our fee never increases like some personal injury attorneys, even if we have to take your case to trial.

Case Worth

As a victim, establishing damages, negotiating with the insurance company, or filing a lawsuit can be daunting and next to impossible without the assistance of an experienced lawyer. As a result, if you have been hurt in an accident, it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to help you recover the compensation to which you are entitled under Indiana law.

Why Hire?

Choosing an attorney that has experience dealing with personal injury law is important to protect your legal rights. If you are trying to recover damages from a business or other type of organization, you can bet that they are going to have a legal team on their side.

Medical Bills

If you were injured by an accident you may be struggling to determine who is responsible for paying your medical bills and holding them accountable. Speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer at The Law Office of William W. Hurst and learn if we may be able to help.

Recovery

After you have been injured, you are entitled to compensation. The type and amount of compensation depends on the injury, bills, the cause of the injury, negligence/bad faith of the defendant, etc. The attorney you retain can also heavy influence your recovery through knowledge, experience, and dedication. Legal terms and phrases can be confusing even after you retain an attorney. If you have been injured, you may wonder how much your case is worth or what your “damages” are. The worse the injuries, the higher the value of the case and the greater need for an experienced attorney