Should Drunk Who Tries To Kill Himself By Lying Down On Railroad Tracks Be Allowed To Sue Railroad?

Let’s say you’re feeling blue, have a few, get into a drunken stupor and decide to kill yourself by lying down on some nearby railroad tracks. Let’s say the railroad company, doing what railroad companies do, then runs a train along its tracks. The engineer spots you almost immediately, puts the train into emergency, but cannot stop the train before it reaches you. You get hurt.

Should you be able to sue the railroad? In De Los Santos v. MTA Long Island Rail Road, the Queens County judge says “no”. After reviewing the case law regarding a railroad’s liability for striking pedestrians on its tracks, he surmised that the “focus [must be] on whether the reaction of the train operator was reasonable under the attendant circumstances”, which they were here.

I represent injured people all day long. They sometimes have some fault in causing their own injury (we personal injury lawyers call this “comparative negligence”). But I don’t know if I could sue a railroad on behalf of a suicidal drunk who lies down on the tracks. Takes hutzpah.

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani
Email me at: I’d love to hear from you!

Michael G. Bersani, Esq. Central NY Personal Injury Lawyers
Michaels Bersani Kalabanka


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