Survivors of Fatal Crash Win Their Damages Case
Friday 19 September 2014
Almost eight years after a train crash near Faure in which 19 farm workers were killed, two survivors have won a test case in their bid for damages.
Their victory comes on appeal after the case was dismissed by the Western Cape High Court in July last year.
Primilda Jacobs and Caroline Hendricks, whose cases were consolidated, then took the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which has now found in their favour on the merits.
In a Judgment that described the incident as “the worst of its kind in this country”, Judge Stevan Majiedt found that the respondents – cited as the Metro Rail and the SA Rail Commuter Corporation – had failed to implement reasonable measures to prevent harm .
Judge Majiedt said the harm of the train colliding with a vehicle at the “uncontrolled , minimally protected” level crossing was reasonably foreseeable . “The respondents failed to take adequate reasonable steps to prevent the materialization of the harm, namely by reducing the speed restriction to 40km/h on that part of the railway line…” the judgment read.
The matter of Jacobs and Hendricks is considered to be a test case for a number of other pending damages claims arising from the incident.
Jacob’s attorney, Ighsaan Sadien, said the judgment could now be used in the claims of those who had instituted proceedings .
Attorney Tzvi Brivik, for Hendricks, said the other claimants were, broadly speaking, divided into two groups- those who had suffered personal injury and those who were claiming loss of support after losing a breadwinner.