(BOULDER, Colo.) — 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 filed his intent to sue the county of Boulder and his rescuers for a tentative $500,000 as a “preservative” measure, his attorney, Ed Ferszt, told ABC News.
Ferszt said the county should have closed the road during floods in September. He said the first responders were also included because they did not realize Ortiz was trapped in the car until they prepared to lift it out of the water.
“He was not seen or it was assumed no one could have survived it,” Ferszt said. “No one discerned he was there.”
The incident began Sept. 12 when Ortiz was driving to work. His vehicle hit part of a washed-out road and then plunged into a creek.
“He tried to feel even above his head and all he felt was water everywhere. It was not much of an air pocket,” Ferszt said.
Ortiz was able to find a small air bubble in the back of his car where Ferszt said his client spent two hours waiting to be rescued.
Since the accident, Ortiz has racked up $40,000 in medical bills and still has shoulder issues and trouble sleeping, including a recurring dream of shivering to death, Ferszt said.
Whether a future lawsuit is filed will depend “on Roy’s medical treatment and how that pans out,” Ferszt said.
David Hughes, Boulder Deputy County attorney, told ABC News the county is following procedure with Ortiz’s claim.
“When we receive a notice of claim, we follow the same process,” he said. “Right now the claim is under investigation.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Doug Criss, CNN
Lisa Respers France, CNN
Alison Daye, CNN