Passengers boarding a Minneapolis Metro Transit train made a gruesome discovery last week: blood spatters on the side of the train. Apparently, a 79-year old woman who gotten off the train and was walking alongside it when she lost her balance, touched the side of the train to regain her balance, and was sucked underneath the train.
One she was pulled underneath the train, she suffered fatal injuries from being crushed by the train.
A commuter train such as this is a common carrier. Common carriers are different from ordinary vehicles because they owe an elevated standard of care. The legal theory behind this is that by entrusting control over your safety to the operator of the train and by paying them money for this, they owe the highest standard of care to assure your safety.
The duty owed by a common carrier extends from the time someone board the bus or train until they have debarked and reached a place of safety. Since this woman was pulled underneath the train while within arm’s reach of the train, she had not reached a place of safety. All that was required to prevent this accident was for the operator to wait a few seconds ore before starting to leave the station. That would have avoided the accident all together – this accident never would have occurred.