“Colorado Man Could Sue Divers Who Saved Him From Submerged Car”

“A Colorado man, despite acknowledging that he’s lucky to be alive after being trapped in a submerged car, has filed an intent to sue his rescuers for half a million dollars.” Roy Ortiz says “he needs help paying medical bills,” and his attorney Ed Ferszt adds, perhaps not entirely helpfully, “It’s unfortunate to have to try and cast liability and responsibility for this act of God on the men and women who risked their own lives.” [ABC, CBS Denver, The Denver Channel, Broomfield Enterprise]


  • Put the car back in the water and the man back in the car as if the horrible rescuers had never arrived.
    His lawyer can get him out.

  • The Good Samaritans should counter sue him for unjust enrichment.

  • I am a Captain with a volunteer fire department.

    This sort of thing ticks me off.

    Despite what he believes, Fire Departments don’t have a legally enforceable responsibility to rescue him at all, much less on his timeline.

    Getting a Swiftwater trained Dive Rescue team to the scene took time. In my community, it would probably take 4 hours, we don’t have one of our own.

    If the Chief had said, “Okay it’s been 30 minutes, any volunteers to go rescue him?”, and one of those rescuers had died, the Chief could have been held civilly and criminally liable for the death of a rescuer without adequate training.

    Even though the victim was yelling for help, he was inside the car on a flooded river. I have no evidence that anyone knew he was there or that he was alive. Rivers are noisy, fire trucks are noisy. Without a an affirmative response from the fire department in question, I will believe that they never heard him and did not know he was alive in the car until the diver looking for a body found him.

  • It is the rescuers own fault. If someone is going to go around saving lives they should carry a general waiver (waterproof, of course), and ask the person drowning, on fire, bleeding from wounds, having a heart attack, suffering from anaphylactic shock, or any other life threatening situation to please sign on the dotted line.

  • Don’t want people filing stupid tort notices? Don’t require tort notices in the first place.

    The lawyer had no choice but to name every conceivable government actor; if he didn’t name the first responders, then, when he tried to pursue the claim that the road should have been blocked — a claim that looks awfully strong, given the other two cars that fell in — the government could say his injuries are really all the fault of the first responders. I’ve seen that before. This way, the lawyer cuts off that dishonest argument.

    There is zero chance “the people who saved him” will pay a dime; good odds they won’t even be named on the complaint.

  • I know some states have some laws protecting ‘good Samaritans (civilian),’ but how is it even possible for first responders to be able to be sued? I guess it all falls back on the bill they get once the rescue is done. America the great.

  • He slid into the creek, then phoned his wife, THEN called 911, and BEFORE HE COULD GET OUT OF HIS CAR (!) more cars slid in, and flipped him over into the water. Wow, the stupid, it burns.