Cape Town, South Africa: Appeal opens way to survivors’ claims against railway

22 Sep

Two women who were injured in the collision between a train and a truck that claimed the lives of 19 farm works on November 13th, 2006 have won an appeal that opens the way for them to win compensation. The Supreme Court has ruled that as the accident was reasonably foreseeable and as the railways had not instituted appropriate controls damages can be claimed against Metrorail and the South African Rail Commuter Corporation.

The circumstances of the collision were the truck stalling on the Croydon level crossing and as a result being hit by a train travelling at the line speed of 90kph The appeal succeeded on the grounds that it would have been reasonable to have imposed a educed speed limit to improve sighting and hence the opportunity for the impact of the collision to have been avoided or reduced. The judgement referenced a train speed of 40kph would have avoided the collision occurring.

In so far as South Africa is concerned this judgment creates a precedent that has significant implications.

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