Are Flying Body Parts at Train Stations Reasonably Foreseeable?

An appellate court in Illinois recently reviewed whether it is “reasonably foreseeable” for a person’s body parts to hit an innocent bystander awaiting a train’s arrival on a platform, after the train collided with that person. Calling it a “tragically bizarre” case, that court determined it was.

In 2008, an 18 year old man was crossing the railroad tracks at a Chicago Metra station in the pouring rain. While he was crossing, an Amtrak train traveling at more than 70 MPH hit him. A large portion of his body flew about 100 feet onto a platform, where it struck a 58 year old lady. She was knocked to the ground, her leg and wrist broken, and her shoulder injured. She filed suit, alleging simple negligence. When the case made it to an Illinois appellate court, it ruled that “it was reasonably foreseeable” that a high-speed train would kill the man and toss his body toward a platform where people were waiting.

The plaintiff’s attorney noted that the circumstances of the case were “very peculiar and gory and creepy.”