What to do if my friend requested a wheelchair at an Amtrak station but was denied, then dies of a heart attack?

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What to do if my friend requested a wheelchair at an Amtrak station but was denied, then dies of a heart attack?

She made it to the platform and got on the train and died of a heart attack soon after. Amtrak did nothing to reimburse her daughter for any part of the ticket although she has not hheard anything from them. This happened about 9 months ago.

Asked on January 10, 2013 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is most likely no liability on Amtrak's part:

1) First, Amtrak's is not actually required or obligated to provide wheelchairs to passengers; without a legal duty to  provide one, there is no liability.

2) Second, even if Amtrak were obligated to provide a wheelchair, it would have to be proven that it was the failure to provide a chair which caused the heart attack--which is likely impossible.

3) Third, even if failure to provide a chair caused the heart attack, it would also have to be the case that it was reasonably foreseeable, or predictable, by the average person that not getting a wheelchair leads to a heart attack--and this is not foreseeable.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Given the facts of your question your friend should consult with a personal injury attorney to see if there is a factual and/or legal basis for a wrongful death action concerning the mother's passage. The daughter may consider filing a small claims court action against Amtrak for the portion of the unused ticket on behalf of the mother's estate.


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