Posted in16. June 2022, 13:22
The City of Zurich is not responsible for a serious accident involving a man on a tram operated by Zurich Public Transport. The Federal Supreme Court therefore reverses the judgment of the Zurich Higher Court.
The pedestrian suddenly went out into the street, looked at his cell phone and was hit by a tram. (icon photo)
As a result, he demanded the satisfaction of the city of Zurich as owner of the VBZ.
The Federal Supreme Court writes that pedestrians “have to take the attention required in city traffic.” (icon photo)
20 minutes / Marco Zangger
On February 20, 2019, the man was standing at a tram stop and was busy with his cell phone. He did not notice the approaching tram of the Zurich Transport Authority (VBZ) because it turned away from him. Suddenly, without looking to the left, he entered the platform – he was hit by a tram and seriously injured. As a result, he demanded the satisfaction of the city of Zurich as owner of the VBZ.
Both the Zurich District Court and the Zurich Higher Court have confirmed the city’s primary liability under the Railroad Act. The city of Zurich appealed the decision to the Federal Supreme Court in Lausanne, which has now approved the appeal and overturned the Supreme Court’s judgment. A federal court announced on Thursday that it had dismissed the accident victim’s claim.
The pedestrian acted “grossly carelessly.”
Under the Railroad Act, railway undertaking owners have general liability for damages “if a risk inherent in rail operations leads to an accident in which a person is injured or killed or property is destroyed” as explained by the Federal Supreme Court. However, the company is relieved of liability if the injured’s behavior is to be regarded as the main cause of the accident.
In one particular case, the pedestrian was grossly negligent as he looked at the cell phone and, distracted by it, suddenly stepped onto the tram line without looking around. Since the accident happened in good weather, on a dry road and on a straight stretch with clear conditions, pedestrians could easily spot oncoming trams from a distance, writes the Federal Supreme Court. The city of Zurich also couldn’t have better secured the tram stop.
The court further states that “pedestrians bending over their cell phones are now part of everyday city street life.” However, this does not change the fact that pedestrians also have to pay attention required in city traffic. The man “did not even take the slightest precaution,” so the city of Zurich was released from liability.