Rescuers file lawsuit against woman they saved from burning vehicle

Wednesday, August 03, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: good samaritan, lawsuit, health news

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(NaturalNews) Allowing a "Good Samaritan" to help you in an emergency situation could end up getting you sued. According to a recent report in The Columbus Dispatch, Mark Kinkaid and his friend David Kelley have filed a lawsuit against Theresa Tanner, a 28-year-old woman the two men recently rescued from her wrecked, burning vehicle in Marion County, Ohio. Kinkaid and Kelley claim Tanner's accident was her own fault, and during the process of rescuing her the two men allegedly suffered irreparable injuries for which they believe Tanner is responsible.

An Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) report indicates that Tanner's vehicle wreck was the result of deliberate reckless driving, as she had attempted to commit suicide by driving off the side of the road and down a small hill. Because of this, Ohio's "Good Samaritan" laws, which otherwise protect injured parties from being sued by their rescuers, can be bypassed in the event that rescuers suffer injury or other damages as a result of willful negligence.

Kelley, a 39-year-old father of five, told reporters that smoke from Tanner's wrecked Hummer were so damaging to his lungs that he no longer has any breathing endurance, and is unable to even carry a basked of laundry up the stairs. Kinkaid, the 43-year-old friend of Kelley, was apparently unable to be reached for a response about the permanent injuries he allegedly suffered, but both men claim permanent injury.

"The precedent is clear: danger invites rescue ... and if you've acted recklessly or negligently and someone gets hurt rescuing you, you could be in trouble," said Stan Darling, a professor of tort law and civil procedure at Capital University Law School in Columbus. He added that such lawsuits are more common than people think, as injured parties often have to shell out lots of cash for hospital and other care, and pursue a lawsuit in order to recoup some or all of this expense.

Kelley stated that between his exorbitant medical bills and his permanently altered health, the minimum $25,000 each in damages both he and Kinkaid are seeking is more than reasonable. Despite the lawsuit, both men have reportedly been honored by OSHP for their valiant efforts, without which would have resulted in Tanner being burned alive.

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