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SNCF told to pay passenger over €1 million after train door accident

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By AFP
The logo of France's national state-owned railway company SNCF is pictured in Saint Denis, outside Paris.
The logo of France's national state-owned railway company SNCF is pictured in Saint Denis, outside Paris.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Michel Euler, File

France's national railway company SNCF has been told to pay over €1 million to a passenger who had her leg amputated after a train door accident.

The Paris Court of Appeal found that SNCF was at least 30% responsible for the accident, which occurred in 2008.

The woman's 13-year legal battle has now resulted in "record" compensation, her lawyers have said.

The female passenger had "mistakenly boarded" a train headed for Boulogne-sur-Mer at the Gare du Nord in the French capital, the court heard.

She wanted to go to Creil, and opened the train's doors during an "unexpected technical stop".

But the train then restarted and the woman "suffered serious injuries to her right leg" which needed to be amputated above her knee.

Her condition also worsened due to an infection in her stump, the Paris court said in its ruling last week.

The state-owned SNCF was ordered to pay at least €1.13 million to the victim and about €600,000 to the health insurance of the Oise region.

Méhana Mouhou, one of the plaintiff's lawyers, told AFP that the compensation was a record for "this type of damage".

Mouhou added that it was "very satisfying" to see that the woman's "suffering and her disability" recognised.

The railway company had appealed a ruling in June 2019, when a lower French court initially ordered SNCF to pay the victim €2 million.

SNCF's lawyers argued that the woman had "deliberately left the train after the departure signal and when the doors were closed".

They described her actions as "reckless and dangerous" and asked the Paris court to find her "50% responsible for the accident". Judges partially accepted their appeal, noting the passenger had "committed a fault".

SNCF said it had "no comment to make on a court decision" and wished to "reiterate its thoughts for the victim".