Lowe Scott Fisher Wins $200,000 in Personal Injury Settlement

February 27, 2014

Trial attorney Greg Scott of Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA obtained a $200,000 personal injury settlement for client Ben Fetters, who was seriously injured in a snowmobiling accident in Ashtabula County.

In March 2007, Fetters was riding a snowmobile at the front of a group of four other riders. They were riding along the Greenway Trail, a public path in Ashtabula County that is used for horseback riding and snowmobiling. During the journey, the group deviated from the path onto a public road, which led them to a gas/oil access road that crossed the back of a farm. As they were traveling, Fetters ran into a thin metal wire that was pulled across the path. The wire caught Fetters’ neck and pulled him off the snowmobile.

As a result of the accident, Fetters suffered several fractured vertebrae in his neck and a crushed esophagus. He was life-flighted to a local hospital where he spent a week being stabilized. Then, he was transported to Cleveland Clinic’s main campus where he received treatment that included fusion surgery for his injured neck. After a couple weeks in the hospital, he was discharged to a nursing home where he continued recovering.

Following the accident, the local sheriff’s department conducted an investigation that included interviewing Lois Jansen, the owner of the farm where the incident occurred. While she said she was aware that snowmobilers rode across the back of her property, she denied knowing anything about the wire.

Because of its demonstrated leadership in the areas of product liability, personal injury and medical malpractice, Lowe Scott Fisher was called upon to begin a more detailed investigation in 2008. The firm spent a full year looking into the case and utilized a vast array of legal experts and resources to uncover who had strung the wire across the path. In addition, they repeatedly surveyed the Ashtabula County property and questioned any individuals who may have had information about the accident.

As the investigation continued, the team discovered that Jansen’s grandson, Peter Jansen IV, was living with his grandmother at the time of the incident. During a deposition from Lois’ neighbor, Kevin Fowler, he admitted that his two sons, Joshua and Nathaniel Fowler, along with Peter, hung the wire across the path. The boys claimed that they had stapled “No Trespassing” signs to the wire. However, no evidence of these signs being attached to the wire or anywhere at the scene was ever found.

“Based on years of experience in handling similar Cleveland personal injury claims, we knew that the law does not allow a property owner or another individual to set up boobie traps or create dangerous conditions that are meant to harm others who come onto the property-even if they are technically trespassing,” explained Scott. “We were confident that we could prove that hanging a practically invisible wire across a well-traveled path was reckless, wanton misconduct intended to injure Ben Fetters and hold the guilty parties responsible for his injuries. This case really highlights the dedication of our legal team to pursue every avenue and leave no stone unturned until the truth is revealed and our client is properly compensated.”

With the help of his colleagues, Scott was able to settle the case against the Fowler boys and Peter Jansen for the $200,000 personal injury settlement. The settlement will help defray the cost of Fetters’ injuries, which have prevented him from returning to work as a diesel mechanic. The fused vertebrae in his neck severely limit his movement and he frequently experiences pain that travels from his neck down to his arm. He also has difficulty swallowing and is unable to lift over 30 pounds in a repetitive manner.

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