Home Table of Contents

WPI 100.09 Passenger—Definition—When Status Begins and Terminates

6 WAPRAC WPI 100.09Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6 Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 100.09 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
April 2022 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part IX. Particularized Standards of Conduct
Chapter 100. Common Carriers
WPI 100.09 Passenger—Definition—When Status Begins and Terminates
A person is a passenger if he or she is in the act of boarding, entering, riding upon, or alighting from the carrier's conveyance with the actual or implied consent of the carrier. [Also, one is a passenger while upon the carrier's premises for a reasonable time after having disembarked from the carrier's conveyance, or for a reasonable time before the departure of the carrier's conveyance upon which he or she intends to ride as a passenger.]
Use this instruction if there is a factual issue whether a person is a passenger. See discussion in the Comment below.
Use bracketed material as applicable. If plaintiff's status as passenger has terminated, use appropriate instructions from WPI Chapter 120 (Trespasser—Licensee—Social Guest—Invitee). If such status is in issue, use this instruction together with appropriate instructions from WPI Chapter 120 (Trespasser—Licensee—Social Guest—Invitee).
This instruction was approved in Houck v. University of Washington, 60 Wn.App. 189, 201, 803 P.2d 47 (1991).
The court looks at the following factors in determining whether a plaintiff has the status of a “passenger:”
  • (1) place (a place under the control of the carrier and provided for the use of persons who are about to enter carrier's conveyance);
  • (2) time (a reasonable time before the time to enter the conveyance);
  • (3) intention (a genuine intention to take passage upon carrier's conveyance);
  • (4) control (a submission to the directions, express or implied, of the carrier); and
  • (5) knowledge (a notice to carrier either that the person is actually prepared to take passage or that persons awaiting passage may reasonably be expected at the time and place).
Zorotovich v. Wash. Toll Bridge Auth., 80 Wn.2d 106, 108–09, 491 P.2d 1295 (1971).
A carrier owes a prospective passenger who has not attained passenger status the duty to exercise ordinary care. A person who is transferring between carriers is owed only ordinary care. Evans v. Yakima Valley Transp. Co., 39 Wn.2d 841, 239 P.2d 336 (1952); Hart v. King Cnty., 104 Wash. 485, 177 P. 344 (1918); Sweek v. Mun. of Metro. Seattle, 45 Wn.App. 479, 726 P.2d 37 (1986); see also Burgdorf v. State, 61 Wn.App. 918, 812 P.2d 890 (1991) (ferry terminal lobby is open to the public for multiple purposes; without other evidence of passenger status, only ordinary care applies).
However, a prospective passenger who is at a place that is under the sole control of the carrier, such as a train depot or boat dock, may be deemed a passenger. In Zorotovich, the court held that a pedestrian in the process of purchasing a ferry ticket who is injured while at the ticket booth is a passenger for purposes of the common carrier doctrine. Accord, Whitlock v. N. Pac. Ry. Co., 59 Wash. 15, 109 P. 188 (1910).
In the absence of any danger, defect, or obstruction in the place of alighting, the relation of passenger and carrier terminates when the passenger gains a secure and maintainable footing on the street. Peterson v. City of Seattle, 51 Wn.2d 187, 316 P.2d 904 (1957); Welsh v. Spokane & I.E.R. Co., 91 Wash. 260, 157 P. 679 (1916); Shelley v. United Air Lines, 84 Wn.App. 129, 133, 925 P.2d 991 (1996).
A common carrier's duty of care may be owed to a disabled or incapacitated person who has in fact left the carrier. To impose liability for injuries sustained by an intoxicated passenger after leaving the carrier, the plaintiff must establish that the carrier had both actual knowledge of the plaintiff's incapacity and actual knowledge that the plaintiff placed himself or herself in a dangerous position. Shelley, 84 Wn.App. 129; Torres v. Salty Sea Days, Inc., 36 Wn.App. 668, 676 P.2d 512 (1984).
A person who remained on a boat for an extended time after arriving at the passenger's destination was held to be no longer a passenger. Duval v. Inland Nav. Co., 90 Wash. 149, 155 P. 768 (1916).
The issues underlying this instruction are also discussed in DeWolf & Allen, 16 Washington Practice, Tort Law & Practice § 2.39 (5th ed.).
[Current as of March 2021.]
End of Document