When Trains Strike and Trespass Occurs: Violation Trumps Injury

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on December 19, 2013


It seems callous, but I tell you: the law is the law, without a doubt. Recently, it was in the news that a man by the name of Kristopher Wenberg – a Topeka, Kansas, native – found himself in an unlikely and dangerous situation: he got hit by a train.train tracks

Thankfully, he survived. In fact, he was so well into his physical faculties, that he was still capable of pulling out his cellphone and making a call to the hospital for a quick pickup to the ER for cuts on his leg and shoulders. He should be thankful he survived – but at the same time, not happy that he was caught in that situation. Why?

He was cited for criminal trespass. He may have suffered some bruises, but his biggest injury was right in the checkbook. It is illegal to walk on railroad tracks. Under common real estate and property law, no individual can do that, so no matter what happens to you on those tracks, you’re held responsible – for your safety, and for your legal consequence.

Even in the engineering and industrial sector, real estate is held at a high regard. You can’t trespass on the premises at all. You could get fined. The same would go for any issue regarding someone’s home. Legally, someone could file a complaint on you for walking into the person’s backyard without permission. It is, without a doubt, a big deal. To make it worse, apparently Wenberg was wearing headphones, so he didn’t even hear that train approaching!

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