Our client was a 56 year old man who was using a chainsaw to cut up fallen trees and branches lying on the ground of a woods in Portage County owned by his uncle. His uncle was also using a chainsaw nearby. Suddenly, a large limb fell directly on our client.The client sustained multiple compression fractures of the lumbar spine and a fractured left leg.He was transported from the scene of the accident and admitted to Akron City Hospital where he spent over two weeks and underwent a lumbar spinal fusion and open reduction/ internal fixation of his broken leg. Our client ultimately returned to his old job making the same wages and basically returned to his “normal” daily activities. A claim was brought under the homeowner’s insurance policy. The liability insurance carrier initially denied liability claiming there was no negligence on the part of the insured uncle. The insurance adjuster also raised legal defenses of assumption of risk and comparative negligence.
Our investigation revealed that the defendant had cut away smaller branches attached to a large limb which had previously snapped off and wedged in the fork of another tree with the upper portion of the large limb still attached precariously to the trunk of the tree approximately 20 feet off the ground directly above our client. We further claimed that the defendant breached his duty of care owed to our client realizing that it was reasonably foreseeable that cutting away the smaller branches would destabilize the large limb and cause it to fall on our client. Thus, through the active negligence of the owner of the property our client suffered serious personal injuries and damages. The insurance company still contested liability but ultimately agreed to settle the Ohio personal injury case for $225,000. We were able to persuade our client’s health insurance company to accept a 40% reduction on its subrogation lien for payment of medical bills.