Woman Sued for Rescue Effort in Car Crash (CA)

This is a discussion on Woman Sued for Rescue Effort in Car Crash (CA) within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Preface: I have been saying thie following for years in discussions with folk toward this very exact same subject matter, Good Samaritan minded genuinely wannabe ...

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 57

Thread: Woman Sued for Rescue Effort in Car Crash (CA)

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    6,781

    Woman Sued for Rescue Effort in Car Crash (CA)

    Preface:
    I have been saying thie following for years in discussions with folk toward this very exact same subject matter, Good Samaritan minded genuinely wannabe helpful persons swooping Captain Sav-A-Ho style.

    I'd invariably have folk respond with comments of GS are protected by Supreme Court precedence (false) or that state law has protections for GS actions (largely false) or that no judge or jury in America would find in a civil case against a person just trying to 'do the right thing' (all kinds of false).

    Below shows the latest example of just how false 'true' assumptions in regard to the law and other human views can be which now in CA sets a legal precedent and thus effectively law of that land. And by that at this level others in other states will reference this case toward cases of similar same in other states.
    Recognize and think about your actions before you act. And then maybe even think again.
    Oh, and this example is yet another reason why personal general liability insurance aka 'Umbrella Insurance' is such a wonderful thing to have retained...before you need it which is going to be the only time when you can get it.

    ---

    As reported by ABC News:

    Woman Sued for Rescue Effort in Car Crash
    Legal Experts Say California Ruling Could Make Good Samaritans Hesitate

    By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES
    Dec. 19, 2008

    No good deed goes unpunished, or so goes the saying.

    Such was the case with Lisa Torti, who is being sued for pulling a now-paralyzed friend from the wreckage of a Los Angeles car accident in 2004.

    The victim's lawyers claim the Good Samaritan bumbled the rescue and caused injury by yanking her friend "like a rag doll" to safety.

    But Torti -- now a 30-year-old interior designer from Las Vegas -- said she thought she had seen smoke and feared the car would explode. She claims she was only trying to help her friend, Alexandra Van Horn, and her own life has been adversely affected by the incident.

    "I know [Van Horn] has a lot of financial issues and her life has changed," she said. "But it's not my fault. I can't be angry at her, only the path she has chosen to take. I can only pray it helps her."

    "I don't have any more fight left," Torti told ABCNews.com, choking back tears. "It's really emotional."

    The California Supreme Court ruled this week that Van Horn may sue Torti for allegedly causing her friend's paralysis. The case -- the first of its kind -- challenges the state's liability shield law that protects people who give emergency assistance.

    Only Medical Workers Immune

    The court ruled 4-3 that only those administering medical care have legal immunity, but not those like Torti, who merely take rescue action. The justices said that the perceived danger to Van Horn in the wrecked car was not "medical."

    The court majority said the 1980 Emergency Medical Service Act, which Torti's lawyers cited for protection, was intended only to encourage people to learn first aid and use it in emergencies, not to give Good Samaritans blanket immunity when they act negligently.

    Van Horn's lawsuit will go on to trial court to determine if Torti is to blame for Van Horn's paralysis.

    But some legal experts say the ruling may discourage people from trying to save lives.

    "What they are saying is that if you pull someone out of a pool, if you provide CPR, you do have a defense," said Torti's lawyer, Jody Steinberg.

    "It seems to defy logic," he said. "At a certain point anyone who instructs or educates [in emergencies] will advise that you must hesitate. Those split-second decisions will be gone and someone could die."

    Emergency Trainers Worry

    The Boy Scouts of America, which offers emergency training to youth, filed a "friend of the court" brief in the case.

    But Van Horn's lawyers said their argument is "nonsense."

    At the time of the accident, Torti and Van Horn, both make-up artists, were acquaintances at work. They had been drinking with a group of friends and left a bar in suburban Chatsworth after a Halloween party, according to court papers.

    The car in which Van Horn and another passenger were riding spun out of control and hit a telephone pole. Torti said she was a passenger in another car that was following them. Before emergency crews arrived, she allegedly offered to help Van Horn from the wreckage.

    "There could be so many things that could happen and I obviously wanted to get her out of the car," said Torti. "She said she couldn't move. I did the best thing I could to move her from the situation and get her out of danger to a place that was a little safer."

    Torti said she put one arm under the victim's legs and one behind her back, carrying her out of the car. But Van Horn testified that her friend grabbed her by the arm and pulled her from the car "like a rag doll," allegedly causing injury to a vertebrae and a lacerated liver.

    Jury to Decide What Caused Paralysis

    Court documents showed that the question of whether she was paralyzed during the crash or when she was pulled out of the car is in dispute.

    "She said she couldn't move out of the car," said Torti. "They exaggerated it. I would never drag someone out of anything or pull someone out like a rag doll."

    But Van Horn's lawyer, Robert Hutchinson, told ABCNews.com that witnesses said there was never any danger of an explosion, and both the driver and a backseat passenger were still in the car when Torti took Van Horn from the vehicle.

    "[Van Horn] got her seat belt off and was stunned," said Hutchinson. "She couldn't open the door and without being asked Ms. Torti grabbed and pulled her out of the car. It was her belief that the car was about to explode."

    Hutchinson argues that despite her belief that there had been an explosion, Torti pulled the victim at an angle and dumped her on a hard median next to the car, allegedly injuring Van Horn's spine.

    Victim 'Ruined for Life'

    "We all know that anyone suspected of a spinal injury should not be moved," he said. "She was not bleeding and was conscious. If the car had been on fire, why didn't she carry her 50 yards away?"

    Van Horn was taken to the hospital where she underwent surgery. Now 26, she has returned to her home in Minneapolis and is confined to a wheelchair. "She is ruined for life," said Hutchinson.

    But Torti said her life, too, has also been changed forever, "jolting" her relationship with her parents, whose homeowner's insurance will end up paying if she loses the case.

    Peter Keane, a dean emeritus and professor of law at Golden Gate Law School, said the impact of the court ruling will "be a bad one" and have repercussions in about a dozen other states that have Good Samaritan laws.

    Good Samaritans Will Now 'Hesitate'

    He said the ruling will force ordinary people to be "reflective" before coming to the aid of a person in an emergency.

    "It's much too literal an interpretation of the immunity law for Good Samaritans," he told ABCNews.com. "Now it puts the onus on the lay person in an emergency situation to try to figure out the nuances of what medical care means, something that could subject them to liability later on."

    Meanwhile, Torti said she feels betrayed by a former colleague and is now shy about helping others.

    "I am really shocked it turned out the way it did," said Torti.

    "How do you explain what you feel when someone you help is going after your money?" she said. "I am really sad because I have always known how to help people and now I always second guess myself. You want to make sure you do the right thing, but you're scared. The world turns us into robots that don't care."

    The story along with video can be found at; ABC News: Woman Sued for Rescue Effort in Car Crash

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  2. Remove Ads

  3. #2
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    N.W.
    Posts
    2,918
    Sad. California is a bit of an oddity though that doesn't make this case any less disturbing to those who might try to intervene.

    That said, I have some rescue training and I've always been told to never move a severely injured patient.YMMV.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    6,781
    Yep...I thought it was common knowledge that you NEVER move an accident victim of any kind ever.
    Car accident. Bicycle fall and hit the ground hard accident. Not even a skateboarder or rollerblader hit immovable object accident.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  5. #4
    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    3,164
    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    Yep...I thought it was common knowledge that you NEVER move an accident victim of any kind ever.
    Car accident. Bicycle fall and hit the ground hard accident. Not even a skateboarder or rollerblader hit immovable object accident.

    - Janq
    You'd be surprised how often I've been to a scene where some bystander decided that the best course of action is to "get them out of there." Get them out and then what? Usually they just let them bleed somewhere else. Sometimes people think that the airbag smoke is real smoke. Sometimes they just need to do something...anything to help, even if it's wrong. Usually, it's the unconscious, mangle victims that generate this panic response, and ironically they are the one who really need to be left the heck alone.
    Spend few minutes learning about my journey from Zero to Athlete in this mini documentary!
    Then check out my blog! www.BodyByMcDonalds.com

    Cupcake - 100 pound loser, adventurer, Ironman Triathlete.

  6. #5
    Member Array ChiWeiSz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    242
    So....

    Does this mean if I see a rape, or mugging, or some other crime in action - and I jump to their rescue and shoot the BG - I could be held liable for the victim's injuries caused by the BG?

    Yikes - makes you want to think twice about helping.
    Trying to leave as large a carbon footprint as possible.
    Shivering in the "heat"
    Innocent as doves, wise as serpents, armed like wolves.

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    7,416
    There are ways to pull someone safely from a car.... however, most people are NOT trained in how to do it and unless something immediately threatens their 'life'.... leave them alone.

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array Paco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    McKinney, TX
    Posts
    3,493
    I have stoped to render ais before in situations like this, but only having basic Army first aid and CPR training I have never moved anyone. I have found that I can serve the victim better by simply talking to them and keeping them alert with answers. All the while I was looking around them so I could give the first responders any info if they ask me.

    I don't carry a brace or back board, so I'm not touching them unless I see flames and I don't hear sirens.
    "Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt

    If you are not willing to stand behind our Troops, feel free to stand in front of them!

    -Paco

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,714
    Well it did take place in the peoples republic of California. It looks like there were other factors, like alcohol. I would not go so far as to say this will be the law of the land however. Even rulings in District Courts will differ. What is held as legal/illegal in one part of the country won't necessarily be the same in another district.

    Will be interesting to see if Torti is held liable for the injury.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
    www.ddchl.com
    Texas CHL Instructor
    Texas Hunter Education Instructor
    NRA Instructor

  10. #9
    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Franklin, VA
    Posts
    5,096
    She was probably already paralyzed before the move. This case will get flushed at trial.Good Samaritans ARE untrained. Responders know better. Somebody messed up when they wrote the law. BTW, GS laws are useless anyway, in Virginia it exempts "gross negligence." Guess what the lawyer will allege when he sues?
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

    Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
    Paramedics With Guns Scare People!

  11. #10
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    24,206
    The court ruled 4-3 that only those administering medical care have legal immunity, but not those like Torti, who merely take rescue action. The justices said that the perceived danger to Van Horn in the wrecked car was not "medical."
    Threat of fire and explosion, itself, wouldn't be medical, no. But the ensuing gross disfigurement and life-threatening injuries in a gasoline blast would surely be. One would think that common sense. But then, sense ain't as common as it used to be.

    Lesson #1: If you're going to be a good sam in California, you'd better whip out the BandAids or begin CPR (and be seen to do it by a string of corroborating witnesses), else you may be strung by the toes by the local district attorney for dereliction during rescue.

    It is onerous horse scat like this that's helping to kill that last shred of willingness of people to do what's right. In biting the hands that feed them, such government hacks are showing the "dog" doesn't warrant being fed.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array artz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    2,351
    that ain't the first time I heard of that happening when I lived out there. UNLESS the vehicle is on fire or similiar....its a no-no.
    If the rescuer is negligent, its one thing but people just plain don't care about their rescuer, IMOP.
    " Refuse to be a victim, make sure there is a round chambered ! "

    Just call me a pessimistic optimist !

    U.S. Navy vet 1981-1992

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array DrLewall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Drakes Creek, AR
    Posts
    958
    I'm just a looky-loo..I don't stop. There too many wanna-be heros out there who are more than willing to jump in and take charge
    "Brains before Bullets"

  14. #13
    Senior Member Array HowardCohodas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Canton, OH
    Posts
    899
    If you are the type that is compelled to help someone in spite of the personal risk you yourself, become a Certified First Responder. My classes run Jan & Feb and this story re-enforces my decision to pay for it myself.
    Howard
    I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop!!
    Politically Incorrect Self Defense

  15. #14
    Member Array snakatack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Nor-Cal
    Posts
    94
    "Threat of fire and explosion, itself, wouldn't be medical, no. But the ensuing gross disfigurement and life-threatening injuries in a gasoline blast would surely be. One would think that common sense. But then, sense ain't as common as it used to be."

    I've been to a gajillion car wrecks. Wrecked cars just sitting there don't catch fire except on TV.

    I think the bottom line is if the car didn't catch fire on the initial impact, it would be very-very rare for it to do so afterwards.

  16. #15
    Restricted Member Array SelfDefense's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    2,736
    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    It is onerous horse scat like this that's helping to kill that last shred of willingness of people to do what's right. In biting the hands that feed them, such government hacks are showing the "dog" doesn't warrant being fed.
    Is it right to inflict a paralyzing injury on someone else just because you thought you were helping?

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Similar Threads

  1. $25,000 for Rescue fine for un-needed Rescue
    By DaveH in forum Off Topic & Humor Discussion
    Replies: 42
    Last Post: August 7th, 2009, 03:25 AM
  2. United effort on gangs.
    By raevan in forum Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: December 18th, 2008, 05:52 AM
  3. Old Town Woman Leads Gun Control Effort [merged]
    By DaveH in forum The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: July 4th, 2008, 12:00 PM
  4. With a concerted effort --
    By P95Carry in forum Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: September 6th, 2005, 02:26 PM
  5. U.S. Gun Rights At Issue In U.N. Effort
    By P95Carry in forum The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: August 30th, 2005, 11:31 AM

Search tags for this page

2007 california, car crash, rescue, sued
,

woman gets sued for rescue effort in car crash

,

woman sued for effort in car crash rescue

,
woman sued for rescue
,

woman sued for rescue effort in car crash

,
women sued by rescuers
Click on a term to search for related topics.