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Need to get something off my chest

lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
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As some of you know, 3 years ago my husband and I were involved in rafting accident.     My husband and another man were ejected from the raft.   Sadly the other man didn't survive.    

2 years ago the family  of the deceased man sued the rafting company.    This past week a new article about the lawsuit.       Some of the allegations just make me so mad.  I get they are upset their loved one dies, but I was there.  It was an accident.  The deceased man panicked.   When you panic on a raging river things can go wrong.  The company did everything they could have done.  
  

I say this because even though my own husband was also ejected, I saw he was okay and ALL my,  along with everyone else's, attention when to saving this man's life (while making sure the rest of us were safe and not ejected ourselves).    Seriously, we (both rafts and the rescue kayaker) left my husband on a rock while we raced to get to the other man.  He was retrieved by another rafting company.   We even lost sight of my husband as we flowed down the river.

  I also say this as a former USCG licensed captain.   While I didn't have a river license, a lot of the same principles apply.   I've experienced water rescues before.  These guys were professional and did all they could.

Some of the allegations include no life jackets.  Umm, I (with 2 others) physically pulled him out of the water using his jacket.    Not proper instructions.   One thing that stood out to me in the pre-rafting orientation was they said if 2 people are in the water at the same time, they go after the one in the most need.  They 100% did that as I pointed out above.      We had a break right before the accident and they again went over what would happen if you fall in the river.  Including getting to the side or the raft ASAP.  Which my husband did.    

  She also is quoted saying her husband was the most fit man.  Which she wasn't wrong regards to the raft trip.  My husband was the most unfit on the boat.   But that doesn't matter.   Fit people can panic.  Unfit people can remain more calm and save themselves.


Right now there are motions in regards to the waiver.   Colorado has traditionally been pro-wavier enforcers.  They believe there is an inherent risk to outdoor activities.   Unless there was some sort of major negligence they fall on the side of the company.  The deceased man and his wife (also on the raft) were/are licensed attorneys in CA.   Specializing in wrongful death.   It would be interesting how this plays out.  

It's been 3 years. I think about it everyday I see rafters (which is often since the river runs through work).  While I'm not involved in the lawsuit directly, I just feel like until it's resolved I can't move on.  Especially when every summer it's brought up in the newspapers.

One of my issues with myself is I feel like I should be more sympathetic towards the widow.  Am I bitch for pointing out (not to her, just in my head) that my husband survived because he paid attention and didn't panic??   Am I just a cold-hearted person?   

 Their lawyers have never contacted us.  I'm guessing because in the investigation it was quite clear I was on the side of the guides.   I feel bad her husband died, but I just don't know what more the company/myself could have done.  We extended out an oar, we threw him a rope bag, which hit him in the face, but he didn't grab. We  preformed CPR for a long time because it was so remote that cells phones didn't work.  Plus it was more than a mile to the nearest road, so it took a while for rescue could get to us once finally contacted.  We were really trying to help.  I did more for him than my own husband.


Anyway, thanks for reading this.   Sometimes you just need to get things off your chest.
 






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Re: Need to get something off my chest

  • What a terrible thing you went through I definitely don't think you're a bitch for pointing out (in your head) what actually happened. Sometimes in grief people do anything thing they can to place blame, even when there isn't any. Hopefully the media dies down quickly and you can move on. 
  • kaos16kaos16
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    I'm sorry you went through this, and have to keep reliving it.  As an attorney, I feel like many people have a knee jerk reaction to sue.  It's frustrating. . . . . sometimes an accident is just an accident.  Accidents happen.  As PP said, people often just want to place blame instead of accepting personal responsibility. 
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
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    kaos16 said:
    I'm sorry you went through this, and have to keep reliving it.  As an attorney, I feel like many people have a knee jerk reaction to sue.  It's frustrating. . . . . sometimes an accident is just an accident.  Accidents happen.  As PP said, people often just want to place blame instead of accepting personal responsibility. 
    Especially when you have a wrongful death practice right?

      Every year a few people die on rivers in CO.  It appears that at least once a year they post an article on past accidents.  Thus me having to relive watching a man die.    

    Sigh.   At least I'm not being sued.   Good Samaritan and all.  






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    I remember you posting about this after it happened. I can imagine that an experience like that really stays with you. I'm sorry. It must be hard. 

    I've done many rafting trips on the east coast, and have gone through some crazy rapids. I agree that just because you're fit doesn't mean you'll be OK. I went through a hydraulic rapid, and my entire raft was thrown into the water. It was hard not to panic going through the rapids, and I honestly thought I might drown for a good 30 seconds. But you have to be able to keep your cool and remember the instructions you were given. My friend was so far away from us (and any other raft) that she had to be thrown the rope bag. My dad was picked up by another raft. Thankfully we were all fine. But yes, my friend is not a physically fit person, and had never been rafting before. She just didn't panic and remembered what the instructors told us to do. 

    I don't think you're a bitch for not feeling overly sympathetic for her. I would probably feel the same. It's very sad he died, but she's clearly twisting the truth to try to win a case against the rafting company. 

    I'm sure the no life vest issue they could disprove easily. Did anyone take pictures that day? If so, there goes that aspect of her case. 

  • kvrunskvruns
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    That would be scary to go through and sad to witness, I can't even imagine. But you're not wrong to also look at it from a personal responsibility aspect and the realization that accidents happen. I can see someone wanting "justice" even for an accident, although once I read that they are wrongful death lawyers it clicked a bit more that they probably will fight this until the bitter end. 
  • I remember when you posted about this.   Can you contact the rafting company as someone involved or do you want to be removed from it? 

    Is it possible that if she's an attorney specializing in wrongful death she's filing suit because a lot of companies may pay out knowing that the trial may cost more than a settlement? 

    As an example - my FIL is a higher up with a home oil company.   Many years ago, one of their employees in a company van (the type you'd see when your furnace was broken in the winter) was hit broadside by a drunk driver on a motorcycle traveling well over the speed limit (estimates are that the driver exceeded 90 mph on a country back road that would have had a speed limit of definitely no more than 45 max).   He ignore stop signs and hit the van so hard that the van nearly split into two.   I don't remember how the employee did but the motorcycle driver was thrown from his bike and died nearly instantly.   His family sued my FIL's company.   After consulting with attorneys, they were told that it was far less costly to settle out of court than it is to go through a trial by jury. 

    It sounds like the widow is either not listening to reason or she's attempting to see what she can get.
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
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    I remember you posting about this after it happened. I can imagine that an experience like that really stays with you. I'm sorry. It must be hard. 

    I've done many rafting trips on the east coast, and have gone through some crazy rapids. I agree that just because you're fit doesn't mean you'll be OK. I went through a hydraulic rapid, and my entire raft was thrown into the water. It was hard not to panic going through the rapids, and I honestly thought I might drown for a good 30 seconds. But you have to be able to keep your cool and remember the instructions you were given. My friend was so far away from us (and any other raft) that she had to be thrown the rope bag. My dad was picked up by another raft. Thankfully we were all fine. But yes, my friend is not a physically fit person, and had never been rafting before. She just didn't panic and remembered what the instructors told us to do. 

    I don't think you're a bitch for not feeling overly sympathetic for her. I would probably feel the same. It's very sad he died, but she's clearly twisting the truth to try to win a case against the rafting company. 

    I'm sure the no life vest issue they could disprove easily. Did anyone take pictures that day? If so, there goes that aspect of her case. 
    The latest article said some things and plaintiffs might be dropped.  

     I'm guessing the life jacket one would be the first to go.   We all had wetsuits, a shell, helmets, booties and life jackets.  Yes, there were pictures taken with us clearly wearing them.   

       Just seems like fluff on their part.    Especially when a newspaper reports something like that and never see a rebuttal from the defendants.   First time I read no life jackets as one of the issues I was like "WTF?   I pulled him out with his lifejacket".           I wanted to comment on the article, but refrained. 








    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • nicolegs17nicolegs17 YoMamaHouse
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    I wouldn't even comment here, to be honest, in the event you're called as a witness.  In fact, I wouldn't post anything publicly at all.  
    STARMOON44
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
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    edited July 17
    banana468 said:
    I remember when you posted about this.   Can you contact the rafting company as someone involved or do you want to be removed from it? 

    Is it possible that if she's an attorney specializing in wrongful death she's filing suit because a lot of companies may pay out knowing that the trial may cost more than a settlement? 

    As an example - my FIL is a higher up with a home oil company.   Many years ago, one of their employees in a company van (the type you'd see when your furnace was broken in the winter) was hit broadside by a drunk driver on a motorcycle traveling well over the speed limit (estimates are that the driver exceeded 90 mph on a country back road that would have had a speed limit of definitely no more than 45 max).   He ignore stop signs and hit the van so hard that the van nearly split into two.   I don't remember how the employee did but the motorcycle driver was thrown from his bike and died nearly instantly.   His family sued my FIL's company.   After consulting with attorneys, they were told that it was far less costly to settle out of court than it is to go through a trial by jury. 

    It sounds like the widow is either not listening to reason or she's attempting to see what she can get.
    We actually know the owners.  Never hang out socially though.  Small town and all.      Until lawyers contact us we are staying out of it.   So far neither side has contacted us.   The only interviews were from the Wildlife investigators. Who ruled the incident an accident. 

    With Colorado's history with waivers I think it will be squashed, but I'm not a lawyer.      

     They had 2 years to file and they filed the last day they could.   Now it's been over a year since the filing and now motions are being filed.   I swear they drag these things out in order for witnesses to forget or for defendants to just payout to get rid of the situation.      If it wasn't for the yearly newspaper articles I would be able to move on better.








    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • Honestly if I knew the owners and was worried they might lose their business I would contact their lawyers with my truthful observations. I mean why should that business have to pay thousands in attorneys' fees to beat back a case that is riddled with holes? And their reputation is probably already being harmed. 
    southernbelle0915thisismynickname2eileenrob
  • I'm so sorry to hear about what you went through and that it is still haunting you.  I don't think you're cold-hearted at all to not be more sympathetic to the widow, in regards to the case.

    Humans have a deep urge for "fairness".  And, while we as a species suck at being fair when it isn't in our best interest, it does bother us when unfairness happens to us or we are 3rd party witnesses to it.  You know the rafting company wasn't at fault for what happened.  You know the wife is even flat-out lying about the life jackets.  It is additional tragedy on top of a tragedy.

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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
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    scribe95 said:
    Honestly if I knew the owners and was worried they might lose their business I would contact their lawyers with my truthful observations. I mean why should that business have to pay thousands in attorneys' fees to beat back a case that is riddled with holes? And their reputation is probably already being harmed. 
    We did a report with them the day of the accident.  Then when interviewed with Wildlife. Which we were asked about life jackets, pre-rafting orientations, etc.  The Wildlife investigation ruled it was an accident.    Both sides have copies of the wildlife report.   

     We just haven't been called by either side since then.     I'm guessing if they really needed our testimony they would contact us.  They have all our information.     Its seems like the waiver is key right now.  If they lose that then I would be surprised if they don't contact us.  Until then I don't think they need anything from us that they do not already have (the wildlife report).

    As far as lawyer fees.  Sadly it's a part of doing business.   I have a friend who used to own a bunch of chain restaurants.  They were sued all the time for things.   Not all legit either.   Sadly, it's was just part of doing business for them.   









    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • That would make me ragey too. If the widow is a wrongful death lawyer, I'm not surprised at all she's suing. She'd probably sue no matter how he died - whether in a rafting accident, in a hospital, driving his car...even if he died in his own bed, she'd probably sue the pillow manufacturer.

    To answer your question, I don't think you're a bitch for having the thoughts you have. At all. You obviously feel bad about the incident and your heart goes out to the widow. But you have a perspective that accidents happen and everyone did everything they could to save the man's life. It's realistic and it's fair.

    If you ever get called for a deposition though, I would stay away from blaming the victim though (e.g. HE panicked, HE didn't grab a rope that hit him in the face, HE didn't grab the oar, etc.). Even if you're right, the point of the court case will be that the rafting company (and the fellow rafters and the rescue agency) gave him all the tools they could to survive an accident (helmet, lifejacket, information) and when an accident happened, everyone followed procedure to a T, even leaving another rafter behind, to save this man's life. 
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  • DrillSergeantCatDrillSergeantCat Oklahoma City, OK
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    I agree with @southernbelle0915; she was going to sue no matter what. You know that nothing was done incorrectly and everything was done to save this man. 
  • I agree with @southernbelle0915; she was going to sue no matter what. You know that nothing was done incorrectly and everything was done to save this man. 

    It's like the old adage, "When you're a hammer, the world looks like a nail."
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  • Do not feel bad for feeling this way. When people go through a traumatic event like this and lose a love one end up handling differently. If they feel like they have a case or need to fight by being an advocate for the life that was lost let them do that. Its not an easy situation for anyone to go through. I am truly sorry. I am happy that your husband is safe. 
  • divarhddivarhd
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    Oey what an awful thing to happen!  You're feeling survivors guilt and it's completely normal.  You are not a bitch for siding with the company and you're doing nothing wrong looking for advice here.  I would NOT contact anyone about this because it is likely you would be called to testify if this does to to trial.  Wrongful death lawsuits are common no matter the circumstances of the accident/incident.  In fact, I have a coworker whose husband was killed in a work accident and that trial is coming up :(.  Chances are good that the lawsuit will settle out of court before trial but just in case, don't say speak to anyone involved other than your husband, unless you're subpoenaed.  I really hope you get some peace.
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  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI
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    Man, I'm so sorry you went through all that.  What a horrible thing to experience.

    I also don't think there's anything wrong with your interpretation of events and even their motives.

    My boss lived in NYC on 9/11.  He avoids the news that day, especially the photos and videos.  For him it's reliving the day in a way he'd rather not.  I know it's not as intimate of an experience, but it sounds like a common experience.
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  • MircakesMircakes
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    I'm really sorry you had to experience that, and to me, your recollection of how things went down does make it seem like the company did everything right, and an accident unfortunately led to a man's death. 

    But also remember that this woman is likely going through the hardest thing she will ever have to experience. I cannot imagine losing my FH in such a way, basically watching him die and having very little that I can do to stop it. That sort of grief leads people to act in many different ways, not always the best way.

    And as for the guy's death being due to his own actions, I think it is a little unnecessary to mentally ruminate on that. At the end of the day, he's dead. His life is over. He paid the ultimate price for panicking, and his loved ones will have to live with the outcome for the rest of their lives. So I think that you should try to let go of the blame game in your head, and do your best to move on. The courts will ultimately decide the outcome, and ruminating on who is to blame won't do anything to help your healing. 
    flantastic
  • Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous lawyers who look for people to file lawsuits.  Often, the idea comes from the lawyer, not the injured party.  This may be one of those cases.
    Down river, here, I do think about your experience.  I drive across the CO river several times weekly.  We have accidents happen here, too.  That was a terrible day for everyone involved.
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  • I think you need to let this go. You aren't a party to the lawsuit. You haven't been called as a witness. You have your memories of the experience; she has hers. Her husband is dead. I don't blame her for taking whatever actions she wants. If the company doesn't want to deal with a lawsuit, they'll settle using the insurance coverage they surely have, and which they should expect to pay out of anytime someone dies on one of their trips. Lawsuits move slowly. 

    holyguacamole79
  • I remember you sharing this back then- it's such a traumatic thing you went through!  I agree with PP that the widow would sue over anything.  
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