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Sued for Saving Two Lives?

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I am employed by a Propane Gas Retailer, and I was dispatched to a customer’s home who was complaining of a bad smell, headache and nausea.  I arrived within 30 minutes, suspecting either a gas leak or possible carbon monoxide exposure, so I went to door with my CO detector in hand.  When I got to the door, the alarm on my detector went off, indicating dangerous levels. I immediately attempted to get someone to the door. After several attempts of knocking and no one responding, I peered through peephole in the door to see two individuals unconscious on furniture.  I had to force door open and carry both outside for fresh air. I also had our office dispatch 911 services. 

Within 15 minutes, city police, firemen and ambulance service had all arrived.  After a detailed investigation of what might have caused the incident, it was determined that there was a party, and someone attending the party had improperly lit the pilot on their furnace. That person had not sealed the burner opening properly, causing exhaust to be pulled into duct system and distributed amongst the home.  Emergency personnel wouldn’t allow the individuals to come back to the home as a result. I felt sorry for the single mom and her child, so I got them a room in a motel for the night.

About two weeks later, I was giving my deposition to our insurance company and was told that they would settle even though it was clearly not our responsibility. They said it was cheaper than fighting it in court.  They gave her a $75,000 settlement.  I’m sure our insurance went up as well!

16 comments

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  • People do this to make money, everyone is savvy about the fact it costs more to fight a lawsuit than to just pay out even a frivolous claim and that insurance companies will often make the decision to pay, then jack up the rates of the business. Our justice system is scum, and the lawyers that take these cases are scum. Good luck getting tort reform in THIS country…..

  • Tell us the location and name of the plaintiffs and I’ll believe you. Take 5 minutes and search gas pipeline explosions and you’ll see how many people have been killed in the past 3 years because of improper maintenance of gas lines.

  • Larry, I don’t mean to be rude, but you’re a liar.

    Assuming your little story is true (which is a stretch) you were not sued “for saving two lives.”. In fact, you weren’t sued at all. The insurance company took a statement from you because that’s part of an insurance company routine investigation. You were a witness and the company wanted to talk to you. That’s what the insurance co is supposed to do.

    Also (again assuming this fairy tail is true), how do we know this problem wasn’t caused by your company?You say it was caused by someone else but how do we know this is true? Because you say so? Either come up with some evidence or shut up.

    I investigate accidents for a living, and don’t like these “trial” lawyer conartists anymore than you do. But this crap you posted doesn’t help our cause at all.

  • Owning a small tour company, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a call or e-mail with just one question: can you handle a handicapped tourist? I KNOW these are people looking to sue my small business if I’m not compliant. Living in a tourist destination, I’ve heard from other business owners, too. Our town is a historic district, with old buildings. A woman with a handicapped child threatened a store owner with a lawsuit over handicapped access if she wasn’t given free stuff. Scared, the store owner allowed herself to be extorted and gave the woman what she asked for. I’d have called the police and filed extortion charges myself, but who can afford the attorneys? There are stupid people out there who believe they can get ‘free money’ by suing, and we ALL end up paying. In this country, you can only get as much justice as you can afford.

  • Well, it is hard for me to believe that an insurance company paid $75,00.00 where there was NO CASE.
    Come on, insurance companies are in the business of making money, They do not make money by paying claims that are easily defended.

  • Larry: If your story is true, you must have a Co meter that no one else has ever heard of. There is no meter on the market that can detect a CO leak in a home from the outside when the door is closed! Why don’t you just delete your untrue story?

  • JJ,
    I am a paraplegic and I often ask that same question while researching touring/excursion companies. I do it because there is nothing more frustrating than showing up for an event or tour only to discover I can’t get on the bus because it doesn’t have a lift. The ADA excludes historic and natural sites – it’s hard to make a cave accessible and an historic site is lost when modified – and people with disabilities know that. We’re not looking for a hand out. We’re exercising due-dilligence in selecting with whom to spend our money. Also, several touring and travel agencies claim to be “accessible” but are not. Their definition of accessible is a 2′ long ramp up a 3′ high flight of steps that was installed to help the UPS man get his hand dolly to the door while delivering trinkets for the gift shop.

  • CC, how can you say “don’t mean to be rude” and call someone a liar over something like this. Seems to me that you are simply trying to discredit the individual’s statement. Accidents like this are investigated by the fire department and are fully credible. It is you who are undermining your own credibility.

  • My wife was the manager for a national cosmetic company that was ‘unique’. She had an employee that was always late, was always leaving her position and wondering around the store talking to friends and guys in the store. When they let her go, she went to the ACLU and NAACP, sued and got $50,000. Same story, easier to pay the lazy bum than to go to court. Ultimately, we pay.

  • Sounds to me like whoever answered the phone at the retailer should have told the people to GET OUT NOW. Clear negligence from a person who should have been familiar with symptoms of CO exposure.

  • I can’t believe how many people miss the point here. I have often seen insurance companies pay out huge amounts to avoid a lawsuit. Even if the defendant or insurance company wins the suit, the legal fees are so expensive and the bad publicity so damaging, it is more cost effective to settle on a payout immediately.

  • I am amazed at so many finding fault for one reason or another with this story but especially the lawyer aspect of it. Attorneys file lawsuits in hopes of never having to go to trial and getting a settlement of some kind instead and insurance companies buy into that by making a settlement offer rather than fight for the truth in the case.

  • Lets try this again0- Does anyone know if she told the state about this money? If not she is committing fraud by taking Welfare.