Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Law and English Railway Capitalism 1825–1875$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

R. W. Kostal

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198265672

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198265672.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 November 2020

‘The Instrumentality of Others’

‘The Instrumentality of Others’

Railway Accidents and the Courts, 1840–1875

(p.254) 7The Instrumentality of Others
Law and English Railway Capitalism 1825–1875

R. W. Kostal

Oxford University Press

In the 1840s injured railway passengers and employees alike commenced legal actions for damages. It is clear that many lawyers of the era believed that both kinds of accident victims might commence viable legal actions for damages against a railway company. By the early 1850s, however, the relative viability of the two causes of action had changed dramatically. While injured railway passengers (or their heirs) brought lawsuits against railway companies in growing numbers, injured railway workers (or their heirs) now only rarely sued employers. This turn of events was the predictable result of a series of judicial choices. Drawing on a fluid blend of pre-railway-era legal precedent and railway-era social and economic concerns, England's common law judges created a body of decisional law that was exceedingly generous to injured railway patrons, but almost intractably ungenerous to injured railway labourers. Although railway employers were maimed and killed much more frequently than railway passengers, their losses contributed few cases to the swell of personal injury litigation against railways after 1850. For the entire period 1840–75, however, the key judicial choices in the field of accident law were not disturbed.

Keywords:   railway passengers, railway workers, English common law, personal injury litigation, injured workers, judicial choice, accident law

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .