5 A. 771 (Me. 1886), Chase v. Maine Cent. R. Co.

Citation:5 A. 771, 78 Me. 346
Opinion Judge:WALTON, J.
Party Name:CHASE, ADM'X, v. MAINE CENT. R. CO. [1]
Attorney:J. W. Spaulding and F. J. Buker, for plaintiff. Drummond & Drummond, for defendant.
Judge Panel:PETERS, C. J., DANFORTH, LIBBEY, EMERY, and FOSTER, JJ., concurred.
Case Date:September 20, 1886
Court:Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

Page 771

5 A. 771 (Me. 1886)

78 Me. 346




Supreme Judicial Court of Maine.

September 20, 1886

J. W. Spaulding and F. J. Buker, for plaintiff.

Drummond & Drummond, for defendant.


We think the verdict in this case is clearly wrong. The rule is now firmly established in this state, as well as by courts generally,

Page 772

that it is negligence per se for a person to cross a railroad track without first looking and listening for a coming train. If his view is unobstructed, he may have no occasion to listen; but, if his view is obstructed, then it is his duty to listen, and to listen carefully; and if one is injured at a railroad crossing by a passing train or locomotive, which might have been seen if he had looked, or heard if he had listened, presumptively he is guilty of contributory negligence; and, if this presumption is not repelled, a recovery for the injury cannot be had. These rules have been so recently and so fully considered by this court that we refrain from discussing them further. It is sufficient to say that they are now the settled law of this state. Lesan v. Maine Cent. R. Co., 77 Me. 85; State v. Railroad Co., Id. 538; S.C. 1 A. 673; State v. Railroad Co., 76 Me. 357.

The evidence in this case shows that the crossing where the deceased was injured was, in one particular, peculiarly dangerous. It was at the northerly end of a cut, and between the cut and the road leading westerly from the crossing were high land and other obstacles which would prevent one approaching from the west from seeing a train coming from the south for a considerable distance before reaching the crossing. This would make it the traveler's duty to listen, and to listen carefully and attentively. To do this, if riding in a sleigh, and especially if riding in a sleigh with bells attached, it would be necessary to stop his horse; for, surely, he could not listen carefully and effectually without stopping his horse, and thus stilling the noise of his own team. And yet the deceased did not observe this caution. The evidence shows that he approached the crossing where he was injured, in a sleigh, with bells attached, his horse trotting. He did not stop his horse. He did not even reduce the speed of his horse to a walk. The result was such as might have been apprehended. Just as his horse's head reached the crossing, a train of cars...

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