Driver vs. Passenger

Stagecoach mishaps frequently resulted in lawsuits, although the outcome of this one, a suit for damages for injuries received was brought before the San Francisco courts in May 1854, is unknown.  Sprague (the plaintiff) was riding on the top of a heavily laden coach, and on coming to a difficult road, requested the driver to stop. The driver said there was no danger, and drove on. A few minutes after the coach became so unsteady on a hillside, Sprague and two others jumped off, resulting in Sprague being crippled. The coach did not upset. The defendant testified that there was no reason to jump off, and that the cause of Sprague’s misfortune was his own fault. Sprague countered that the coach was top heavy, and would have upset if the three had not jumped off, potentially making the injuries far greater. Daily Alta California May 17, 1854