Case Brief Wiki


Cappier's son was run over by one of the defendant's train cars and died from the injuries he received. Although the agents of the plaintiff called the police and an ambulance was sent, they did nothing to stop the bleeding after the individual had lost an arm and a leg until the ambulance arrived.


  1. Did Union Pacific owe a duty of care to take care of the injured party?


Appeal allowed, no duty of care existed.


The appeal judge states that when the injuries result from one's own negligence, as in this case, a third party owes no duty to protect or aid the negligent individual. Although these acts might be required by morality, they are not recognized as legal duties. The agents of Union Pacific played no role in causing the injuries of Cappier's son. There must be a duty owed in order for negligence; there was no duty owed in this case, and therefore there can be no finding of negligence.


  • There is no duty to act to help or aid an individual who has been injured solely by his or her own actions; a party cannot be found negligent for failing to prevent harm if they have not contributed to the risk of harm.