Woman Sued for Rescue Effort in Car Crash

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."

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