Drunk person loses leg to passing train

What would you award Mr. Dibble in damages?

72.7%
2. less than $1 million 9.1% 3. $1 million to $3.6 million 12.1% 4. more than$3.6 million

6.1%
1. Feb 18, 2009

Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
What would you have awarded the plaintiff if you were on the jury (and why)?
Presumably, the medical (and other related) expenses came up to ~$3.6 million. Or does that include things like "psychological damage"? (I have no idea) More here: http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/02/18/drunk.amputee.payout/index.html Last edited: Feb 18, 2009 2. Feb 18, 2009 russ_watters Staff: Mentor Wow, that's actually a toughie. I'm going to go for the middle... 3. Feb 18, 2009 drankin I say nothing. Nobody else should be responsible for anothers stupidity. I hate that our culture is so litigious. With the right lawyer no one is responsible for their own actions any more. 4. Feb 18, 2009 Evo Staff: Mentor It's a subway, the trains go through all of the time, it's not like the train was out wandering the streets. I voted nothing. 5. Feb 18, 2009 signerror More than$3.6M. There needs be heavy punitive damages for the transport authority for their dangerously flawed engineering.

More accessible, intrinsically safe train station:

6. Feb 18, 2009

JasonRox

Sounds like a fair triel to me.

Subway had enough time to stop. He should have stopped.

If I see a drunk guy jump onto the road, and I'm able to escape this scenario without injury (stopping or changing lanes), then I would do so. I wouldn't run him over, like some people here are implying.

7. Feb 18, 2009

signerror

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
8. Feb 18, 2009

Staff: Mentor

But that is only if the driver was able to see him. just because 'theoretically" the train would have had time to stop based on when the drunk fell and where the train was doesn't matter. How visible was the guy? Was he wearing clothing that blended in with the tracks? I'm assuming from this that the train was not stopping so was going very fast. You have to take into consideration that the driver is human, apparently he didn't see him. At the speed of a subway train, would the driver have had to see the guy at the exact moment he fell in order to stop? At that distance is that realistic?

Obviously the train driver did not see him.

9. Feb 18, 2009

humanino

There are better ways to waste money for public transportations than ensuring drunken people can't throw themselves under trains. Public transportation needs in depth development, especially in the US. I voted nothing.

Next time a person will bypass whatever security system you engineered, because he wanted to commit suicide at that time, how would you feel if his lawyer sued you because the system could be so easily bypassed ? When will the "suing other people for money, disregarding his own responsibility"-frenzy stop ?

10. Feb 18, 2009

signerror

I think you're missing the distinction, that this was an unintentional injury. This is a design flaw of the NYC subway. In the double-door people mover in the Malaysian airport I showed (or the one in Tokyo-Narita, or Atlanta-Hartsfield, or others), it is not possible to accidentally fall onto the tracks. Likewise, balconies have railings, and stairways have handbars. Text editors have 'autosave' features. This is part of a soundly designed system: you anticipate what could go wrong, and prevent it.

Frankly, this isn't a major public health hazard, but it's not a particularly expensive one to fix either. And double-doors really bring peace of mind, too. I get vertigo every time I'm near an open rail line. I shouldn't have read that Anna Karenina book.

11. Feb 18, 2009

humanino

No I don't miss it and I am quite familiar with this system. The newest section in Paris has those kind of doors. During some weeks, there was a maniac in Paris pushing people under the trains in older sections. Nobody ever even thought of suing the train company because of the design. I think you are missing my point that people should not permanently be considered even more stupid than normal kids when designing systems. You are also missing the point that there are better ways to spend money for public transportation.

I was conveying that, following the idea that you can sue the train driver or company in general in the case at hand, you can also sue them when a safety system is in place, but you manage to bypass it. Just claim that you were out of your mind at this point, thus irresponsible.

12. Feb 18, 2009

I voted for $0, because I am of the mind that people should be responsible for their own incompetence, and this accident was clearly a result of poor choices made by the man involved. I also, however, agree that there should be additional safety systems in place, to prevent something like this from happening. Would the results of this poll be different if it were someone truly mentally handicapped? It is conceivable to me that a similar accident could occur through no fault of the victim, and, as such, new safety codes should be implemented. 13. Feb 18, 2009 Cyrus I vote they amputate his other leg for being a dumbass. Hmmm, I drank myself stupid and then wandered around on my own and got run over by a train. NOT MY FAULT! 14. Feb 18, 2009 mplayer One of my legs can be worth 2.3 million?! 15. Feb 19, 2009 Proton Soup maybe after we adopt Uncle Joe's version of the Works Progress Administration, we can. as for stopping trains in the middle of nowhere by tossing a passed-out bum on the tracks, i don't think that's an idea we want to encourage. 16. Feb 19, 2009 Ivan Seeking Staff Emeritus I don't know the current laws, but at one time in California, if someone was drunk and walking in the middle of the highway, in the middle of the desert, in the middle of the night, and you hit him, you were probably partially liable. It actually happened! The ruling was that the driver was not in the center of the lane - not that he was out of his lane, but he wasn't perfectly centered - so he was assigned some percentage of guilt. In this case, it appears to me that the subway stations are inherently dangerous in that anyone could easily trip or fall and end up on the tracks, so I can understand the ruling. It sounds like the subway operators are supposed to allow for this sort of thing but this one simply didn't realize what he was seeing on the tracks. It was a case of human error that was avoidable. Lawsuits like this help to ensure that the metro system maintains rigid safety standards. Was this a case of the driver being too quick to make a false assumption about safety? Sounds that way to me. 17. Feb 19, 2009 cristo Staff Emeritus But you can surely make the same argument about anything. Why not have walls built along roads, with gates at crossings that only open when the traffic has stopped? Why not have such safety systems as normal train stations, as well as underground stations? In fact, at least here in London, the underground stations are safer, since they have so called 'suicide pits' which enable a body to fall under the track (though whether they'd survive the live rails is another issue). Whilst safety is of course important, you can't go around wrapping everyone in cotton wool, lest the one fool decides to put his life at risk. 18. Feb 19, 2009 neu The driver said he thought the guy was an inert object, so he saw him; case closed. people falling or jumping on the lines is something the drivers should be aware of. Responsibility is on both individual and transport athourity staff. In this case both were responsible, how ever the driver could have easily prevented the accident. 19. Feb 19, 2009 Gokul43201 Staff Emeritus In the case of the train drive though, I think you will find that he was perfectly centered on his lane! 20. Feb 19, 2009 Jimmy Snyder I voted (hic) more than$3.6 million.

21. Feb 19, 2009

waht

But if you are drunk and hurt someone like in a car accident, then they will not be so forgiving.

22. Feb 19, 2009

neu

That might be a good point if it were relevant to the opening post.

23. Feb 19, 2009

BobG

:rofl: You're talking about a .18 BAC. This guy's problems are his own fault.

Had the subway company sued the drunk and the bartender for the damage to the subway system and the emotional stress placed on the subway driver, I might have considered the bartenders partially responsible. I think there would have been obvious signs the guy had too much to drink way before he reached .18 BAC.

But, I'm not sure about that. It depends on the witnesses in the bar. In fact, what happened to this guy's friends? Did they not notice because they were as trashed as him?

At about 0.14, the person needs medical evaluation and at about 0.20, the person needs medical assistance. (Alcohol and Your Body). The article doesn't mention the person's weight, but a hockey game is probably about 2 hours? A 150 pound male would have to drink about 8 beers during the game to get to 0.18. (BAC Calculator)

Last edited: Feb 19, 2009
24. Feb 19, 2009

BobG

This is a good argument.

How many lives would be saved if the interstate had streetlamps for the entire interstate system instead of just high traffic portions? How much money would it cost to save each life? Or, the more difficult, but unavoidable question (the one that gets punitive damages tacked onto a lawsuit verdict), how much is each life worth - is it sometimes better to accept that a "design flaw" is going to cost a certain number of lives?

The Pinto case makes for an interesting ethics subject, but just how much more were car buyers willing to chip to save someone else's life via a higher price? (And the odds would suggest that it would be someone else to die in a car crash, not them).

25. Feb 19, 2009

Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
Here's a Drake-equation-like puzzle, for those still pondering this:

If the train driver had slammed the brakes to avoid the drunk on the tracks, how many drunks in the train would have lost balance and broken their noses (or ribs or skulls...)?