CACI No. 907. Status of Passenger Disputed

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2024 edition)

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907.Status of Passenger Disputed
A common carrier owes the highest care and vigilance to persons only
while they are passengers. [Name of plaintiff] claims that
[he/she/nonbinary pronoun] was [name of defendant]’s passenger at the
time of the incident.
To establish that [name of plaintiff] was a passenger, [he/she/nonbinary
pronoun] must prove all of the following:
1. That [name of plaintiff] intended to become a passenger;
2. That [name of plaintiff] was accepted as a passenger by [name of
defendant]; and
3. That [name of plaintiff] placed [himself/herself/nonbinary pronoun]
under the control of [name of defendant].
To be a passenger, it is not necessary for the person to actually enter the
carrier’s vehicle [or name mode of travel, e.g., bus, train]; however, the
carrier must have taken some action indicating acceptance of the person
as a passenger. A person continues to be a passenger until the person
safely leaves the carrier’s vehicle [or equipment].
A common carrier must use the highest care and vigilance in providing
its passengers with a safe place to get on and off its vehicles [or
New September 2003; Revised May 2020
Sources and Authority
The heightened degree of care for common carriers is owed only while
“passengers are in transitu, and until they have safely departed the carriers
vehicle.” (Marshall v. United Airlines (1973) 35 Cal.App.3d 84, 86 [110
Cal.Rptr. 416].)
The relationship of carrier and passenger is “created when one offers to become
a passenger, and is accepted as a passenger after he has placed himself under the
control of the carrier.” (Grier v. Ferrant (1944) 62 Cal.App.2d 306, 310 [144
P.2d 631].)
It is not necessary that the passenger have entered the vehicle for the
relationship to exist: ‘The relation is in force when one, intending in good faith
to become a passenger, goes to the place designated as the site of departure at
the appropriate time and the carrier takes some action indicating acceptance of
the passenger as a traveler.’ (Orr v. Pacific Southwest Airlines (1989) 208
Cal.App.3d 1467, 1473 [257 Cal.Rptr. 18], internal citations omitted.)
The carrier-passenger relationship terminates once the passenger has disembarked
and entered a place of relative safety. (McGettigan v. Bay Area Rapid Transit
Dist. (1997) 57 Cal.App.4th 1011, 1018 [67 Cal.Rptr.2d 516].)
Carriers must exercise utmost care ‘[u]ntil the passenger reaches a place
outside the sphere of any activity of the carrier which might reasonably
constitute a mobile or animated hazard to the passenger.’ (Brandelius v. City
and County of San Francisco (1957) 47 Cal.2d 729, 735 [306 P.2d 432], internal
citations omitted.)
Secondary Sources
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, §§ 1058, 1059
2 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 23, Carriers, § 23.02[4] (Matthew Bender)
11 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 109, Carriers, § 109.36 (Matthew
2A California Points and Authorities, Ch. 33, Carriers, § 33.22 (Matthew Bender)
2 California Civil Practice: Torts § 28:7 (Thomson Reuters)

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