Man May Sue Rescuers Who Saved Him From Sinking Car For $500,000

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A Colorado man may now sue the people who saved his life to the tune of $500,000. What did they do wrong? They didn't save his life fast enough.


Roy Ortiz filed an intent to sue both the county of Boulder and the people who rescued him from his sinking car for a tentative $500,000, ABC News reports. Ortiz hit a washed-out part of road back on September 12th and his Pontiac went flying into a creek, landing upside-down.

Ortiz was stuck in the sinking vehicle for two hours, surviving only thanks to a tiny air bubble in the back of the car.

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He was only rescued when the fire department started to extract his car from the creek, not specifically to save him. Ortiz's lawyer gave ABC News his explanation why.

He was not seen or it was assumed no one could have survived it. No one discerned he was there.

It's not like Ortiz wasn't trying to get the rescuer's attention, as he himself told CBS News.

I started yelling again and I started making noise to let them know, those people, that I'm alive.


ABC News further explains that Ortiz was hit with $40,000 in medical bills and still has trouble sleeping. He has a recurring nightmare about shivering to death, Ortiz's lawyer explains.

The basics of Ortiz's suit are that the road should have been closed (or adequately marked with warnings), that rescuers shouldn't have taken two hours to free him, and that he suffered a half-million in damages, CBS reports.


Meanwhile, the fire department (that also rescued two other people in this scene) remain happy to have saved this guy's life. The North Metro Fire Department's spokesperson had this to say.

I'm sure it was a traumatic experience for him. Ultimately, we were just very grateful we were able to save his life that day.



I'm going to play Devil's advocate here. Don't kill me for this, but I'd like to raise a few points (none of which mean that I fully back this guy's suit):

I think this guy is trying to make the claim that the rescuers, who are paid by his taxes, were not doing their job to their full ability. How would you feel if an ambulance driver stopped by Starbucks on his way to pick up your kid who is in the throes of an asthma attack? Does he get immunity because your kid didn't die? What if timing meant the difference between temporary and permanent damage?

Are you automatically not allowed to criticize people who save your life?

I think it's fair to criticize the taxpayer-funded employees for not doing their jobs well enough.

Of course, filing a lawsuit ≠ winning a lawsuit, so let's not pretend that he's actually going to get $500,000.