California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

906. Duty of Passenger for Own Safety

While a common carrier must use the highest care for its passengers’ safety, passengers need only use reasonable care for their own safety.

New September 2003

Sources and Authority

  • This instruction is intended to clarify that passengers and common carriers have different standards of care. Courts have addressed the potential for confusion in this area when contributory negligence of the passenger is at issue: “As applied to the standard of care imposed upon the common carrier as compared to the standard imposed on the passenger it is both erroneous and misleading to tell the jury, as was done here, that there are no degrees of negligence or contributory negligence in California, since the common carrier is in fact held to a higher degree of care than is the passenger. To follow this erroneous and misleading statement with the instruction, in the identical language used in another instruction concerning the defendant carrier’s duty of care, that ‘any negligence, however slight,’ of the decedent proximately contributing to her death would bar a recovery, was to inform the jury that in determining negligence and contributory negligence they must apply the same standard of care.” (Wilson v. City and County of San Francisco (1959) 174 Cal.App.2d 273, 276 [344 P.2d 828].)

Secondary Sources

2 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 23, Carriers, § 23.07[1] (Matthew Bender)

11 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 109, Carriers (Matthew Bender)

2 California Civil Practice: Torts (Thomson West) § 28:32