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Man Killed by Train is Sued: Flying Body Parts Injured Woman

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on December 30, 2011 6:01 AM

An Illinois woman is suing the estate of a man killed by a train, claiming the man's flying body parts hit her and caused injuries.

A state appeals court cleared the way for Gayane Zokhrabov's flying body parts lawsuit to proceed -- though it also called the case "tragically bizarre," the Chicago Tribune reports.

The case stems from a horrific accident in 2008, when a train traveling more than 70 mph struck and killed an 18-year-old man who was running across the tracks. The victim did not know the approaching train was a high-speed train, his mother maintains.

The impact flung the man's body about 100 feet, and flying body parts knocked Zokhrabov, then 58, to the ground. She hurt her shoulder, and broke her leg and wrist.

Zokhrabov sued the estate of the deceased victim, Hiroyuki Joho. A lower court dismissed the suit, finding Joho could not have anticipated the woman's injuries, according to the Tribune.

But an Illinois appeals court disagreed, and said "it was reasonably foreseeable" that a train accident could send Joho's flying body parts into crowds of waiting passengers.

Whether an injury is "reasonably foreseeable" is a major factor in cases alleging negligence. A victim's injury must also have been caused by another party's breach of duty to the victim, through action or inaction. And the victim must have been in a "zone of danger."

In this case, Zokhrabov must show that Joho breached his duty -- perhaps by running across the train tracks. She will also have to show that Joho's breach caused her injuries. That's where her "flying body parts" theory comes into play.

Zokhrabov's lawyer laid out her legal strategy to the Tribune: "If you do something as stupid as this guy did, you have to be responsible for what comes from it," she said.

This may not be the last appeal for Zokhrabov's flying body parts lawsuit. An attorney for Joho's mother says he plans to take the case to the Illinois Supreme Court.

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