USAC Banner 728x90

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Neighbor's tree fell on my yard and damaged my car. Who's responsible for damages?

Collapse
X
  •  
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Neighbor's tree fell on my yard and damaged my car. Who's responsible for damages?

    Hello. I am from San Jose, California. A large chunk of my neighbor's tree fell on my front yard and car and caused significant damage to my car. I would like to know who is responsible for the damages.

    Several weeks ago, a portion of the tree, as I was told by my neighbor, just fell off onto the street. The city came in and cleaned it up and moved the portion on the street onto my neighbor's yard. They claimed that since it is on private property that they were responsible for clean up and that if they wanted to cut the tree down, that they needed to file the necessary paperwork with the city and get approvals first. I'm not really sure if my neighbor was aware that the tree could be rottening and weak and may fall anytime, but the tree remained, with almost half of it gone.

    On July 4th, another large chunk of the tree fell on my front yard and also hitting my car which caused numerous scratches, large dents and a cracked sunroof glass. I do not have comprehensive auto so I'm not covered by my insurance, but I would like to know if it would be possible for my neighbor's homeowner insurance to cover the damages.

    Thank you.

  • #2
    Re: Neighbor's tree fell on my yard and damaged my car. Who's responsible for damages

    The deciding factor is whether it was voluntary negligence or involuntary negligence. Ignore the other dead branch as it is a separate issue. Peruse the tree. Does it appear to be healthy in general? Are there any obvious signs the tree is unhealthy? Is there leaf cover on the branches in general? On the specific branch that hit your car, was it obviously dead? What caused it to come off the main segment of the tree? Do you have pictures supporting your analysis, such that a reasonable man could look and see what you see?

    For example, one of my 100ft oaks just blew over in a storm, taking out power lines, a telephone pole and yanking wires out of several homes. The tree appeared perfectly healthy. Had full leaf cover. No significant presence of dead fall. It was pulled out of the grounds, by the roots, which broke. Upon inspection, some of the root were moist and powdery, causing them to be very weak. None of the flawed part of the tree was visible to the eye, so it is deemed involuntary negligence on my part. Otherwise known as "an act of God".
    Due to a recent promotion, I should now be referred to as Major Obvious.

    I would not be trying to provide information and knowledge if I did not sympathize.

    Some days it is just not worth chewing through the restraints to face life.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Neighbor's tree fell on my yard and damaged my car. Who's responsible for damages

      Originally posted by geloman1 View Post
      Hello. I am from San Jose, California. A large chunk of my neighbor's tree fell on my front yard and car and caused significant damage to my car. I would like to know who is responsible for the damages.

      Several weeks ago, a portion of the tree, as I was told by my neighbor, just fell off onto the street. The city came in and cleaned it up and moved the portion on the street onto my neighbor's yard. They claimed that since it is on private property that they were responsible for clean up and that if they wanted to cut the tree down, that they needed to file the necessary paperwork with the city and get approvals first. I'm not really sure if my neighbor was aware that the tree could be rottening and weak and may fall anytime, but the tree remained, with almost half of it gone.

      On July 4th, another large chunk of the tree fell on my front yard and also hitting my car which caused numerous scratches, large dents and a cracked sunroof glass. I do not have comprehensive auto so I'm not covered by my insurance, but I would like to know if it would be possible for my neighbor's homeowner insurance to cover the damages.

      Thank you.
      Yes, it is possible and probable that your neighbor's homeowners insurance will pay for the damages to your car. At any rate, your neighbor, from what you describe is liable.

      The City may have weakened the tree by lopping off one side of it, making it unstable and subject to falling. Or it could have been diseased, rotted, enough to cause the branches to fall. Even if the tree were healthy and limbs fell onto your property, your neighbor would be liable.

      You need to notify the neighbor in writing of the extent of the damages and request he cut you a check. He should forward the claim to his insurance company and they take it from there. Be sure to document as much as you can of the tree trunk, where the limbs fell off, the limbs and the damage to your car. You will need three estimates as good practice if you need to introduce evidence of the extent of your damages in court.

      Those estimates will come in handy, too, if and when the neighor's adjuster shows up so you get a realistic settlement.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Neighbor's tree fell on my yard and damaged my car. Who's responsible for damages

        Originally posted by Disagreeable View Post
        The deciding factor is whether it was voluntary negligence or involuntary negligence. Ignore the other dead branch as it is a separate issue. Peruse the tree. Does it appear to be healthy in general? Are there any obvious signs the tree is unhealthy? Is there leaf cover on the branches in general? On the specific branch that hit your car, was it obviously dead? What caused it to come off the main segment of the tree? Do you have pictures supporting your analysis, such that a reasonable man could look and see what you see?

        For example, one of my 100ft oaks just blew over in a storm, taking out power lines, a telephone pole and yanking wires out of several homes. The tree appeared perfectly healthy. Had full leaf cover. No significant presence of dead fall. It was pulled out of the grounds, by the roots, which broke. Upon inspection, some of the root were moist and powdery, causing them to be very weak. None of the flawed part of the tree was visible to the eye, so it is deemed involuntary negligence on my part. Otherwise known as "an act of God".
        Involuntary negligence is negligence. It is not an Act of God. An Act of God is something totally outside the person's control, e.g. a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, sinkhole.

        Negligence whether voluntary or involuntary is still negligence -- attributable to the should have been responsible person.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Neighbor's tree fell on my yard and damaged my car. Who's responsible for damages

          The law does not view it that way. That is what is important regarding both mine and OP's positions. If the law were to hold homeowners to a strict negligence standard, everyone in the country would be required to raze all the trees on their property, to avoid any potential liability.

          If it had not been OP's car that was struck, but just about anything else, his own homeowners insurance would likely pickup the tab.


          Originally posted by Friend In Court View Post
          Involuntary negligence is negligence. It is not an Act of God. An Act of God is something totally outside the person's control, e.g. a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, sinkhole.

          Negligence whether voluntary or involuntary is still negligence -- attributable to the should have been responsible person.
          Due to a recent promotion, I should now be referred to as Major Obvious.

          I would not be trying to provide information and knowledge if I did not sympathize.

          Some days it is just not worth chewing through the restraints to face life.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Neighbor's tree fell on my yard and damaged my car. Who's responsible for damages

            I wish to inform you that you can claim compensation for the loss caused by neighbor's tree. As the tree was in area of your neighbor thus he is liable to compensate you for loss suffered by you. Generally there is a concept of strict liability under which if owner is having something on land which causes damage to other person's property then owner is liable to compensate neighbor.

            AFF

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Neighbor's tree fell on my yard and damaged my car. Who's responsible for damages

              Originally posted by Disagreeable View Post
              The law does not view it that way. That is what is important regarding both mine and OP's positions. If the law were to hold homeowners to a strict negligence standard, everyone in the country would be required to raze all the trees on their property, to avoid any potential liability.

              If it had not been OP's car that was struck, but just about anything else, his own homeowners insurance would likely pickup the tab.
              A vehicle is property. A person's homeowner's insurance policy does not distinguish between a vehicle of the neighbor's and the roof of his house.

              People have been paying since time immemorial for damage done by falling limbs of their trees onto neighbor's property. The issue is negligence -- failing to mitigate an observable hazard. What the tree owning neighbor knew or should have known -- observed or should have observed -- the damage done as the proximate cause of his neglect.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Neighbor's tree fell on my yard and damaged my car. Who's responsible for damages

                You seem to be slow on the uptake. OP is responsible for his own damages, unless he can establish active liability on the part of the tree owner. The simple act of the limb falling does not establish liability until it is proven to have created a liability and to whom that liability is directed. His own home owners policy will not pay for damages to his car. He did not have car insurance to do so. Therefore, he either 1. Establishes active liability (not an act of God) or 2. Pays for his car damage out of pocket. OP's best course of action is to approach the other homeowner and take plenty of pictures of everything. If the neighbor refuses to turn it into his insurance or denies to pay him directly, he then needs to establish liability in court. It could be the power utility is liable. If the neighbor refuses to pay, OP may need to pay an arborist to come and asses the situation and issue a written report for court. The obvious counter argument is if was so obvious to everyone the tree was dangerous, why did OP leave the segment over his car intact. He should have paid to have the limb removed.


                Originally posted by Friend In Court View Post
                A vehicle is property. A person's homeowner's insurance policy does not distinguish between a vehicle of the neighbor's and the roof of his house.

                People have been paying since time immemorial for damage done by falling limbs of their trees onto neighbor's property. The issue is negligence -- failing to mitigate an observable hazard. What the tree owning neighbor knew or should have known -- observed or should have observed -- the damage done as the proximate cause of his neglect.
                Due to a recent promotion, I should now be referred to as Major Obvious.

                I would not be trying to provide information and knowledge if I did not sympathize.

                Some days it is just not worth chewing through the restraints to face life.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Neighbor's tree fell on my yard and damaged my car. Who's responsible for damages

                  Originally posted by Disagreeable View Post
                  You seem to be slow on the uptake. OP is responsible for his own damages, unless he can establish active liability on the part of the tree owner. The simple act of the limb falling does not establish liability until it is proven to have created a liability and to whom that liability is directed. His own home owners policy will not pay for damages to his car. He did not have car insurance to do so. Therefore, he either 1. Establishes active liability (not an act of God) or 2. Pays for his car damage out of pocket. OP's best course of action is to approach the other homeowner and take plenty of pictures of everything. If the neighbor refuses to turn it into his insurance or denies to pay him directly, he then needs to establish liability in court. It could be the power utility is liable. If the neighbor refuses to pay, OP may need to pay an arborist to come and asses the situation and issue a written report for court. The obvious counter argument is if was so obvious to everyone the tree was dangerous, why did OP leave the segment over his car intact. He should have paid to have the limb removed.
                  No one ever accused me of being "Slow". Quite the opposite.

                  One has to analyze facts before coming to a flat out conclusion:

                  (1) The tree was severely lopped (butchered) on one side by the City.
                  (a) That could have caused it to be out of balance

                  (2) The tree could have been damaged, rotted --which is why I suggested he take pictures of the limbs and trunk as well.

                  (3) There was no lightening strike, no "Act of God" that caused the tree limbs to fall on his property.

                  (4) The owner of the tree is responsible for assuring that it does not damage another's property.

                  (5) A claim needs to be made. Homeowner's insurance pays for damages like this when one person's tree damages another's property. Leave it to the adjusters, first, is my recommendation.

                  (6) Before discouraging one from making a claim in a situation like this, discouraging them outright, it is best to advise they speak with a personal injury attorney (at no charge, of course) to determine their prospects to collect under the law and precedent of their state.

                  (7) I have had a similar situation and my homeowner's insurance collected from the neighbor's insurer for a situation almost on all fours with this one. So I speak from my knowledge of the law and precedent in two states and from firshand knowledge.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Neighbor's tree fell on my yard and damaged my car. Who's responsible for damages

                    Before doing anything, talk to the neighbor. It it cannot be resolved, you can explore a free consultation with an attorney, barring that, you need to get an arborists assessment as to what happened resulting in everything falling. You may find the cost to pursue this and possibly lose, is similar to what prevailing would cost. While you have professional council ask about your liability for not mitigating the danger.
                    Due to a recent promotion, I should now be referred to as Major Obvious.

                    I would not be trying to provide information and knowledge if I did not sympathize.

                    Some days it is just not worth chewing through the restraints to face life.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Neighbor's tree fell on my yard and damaged my car. Who's responsible for damages

                      Just for clarity, Act of God is not limited to huge occurrences such as tornadoes and earthquakes. To be precise it is an event that directly and exclusively results from the occurence of natural causes that could not have been prevented by the exercise of foresight or caution; an inevitable accident.

                      Most insurance policies exclude coverage for Acts of God.

                      This limb clearly is not an Act of God.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Neighbor's tree fell on my yard and damaged my car. Who's responsible for damages

                        If you review briefly, we are not just dealing with a limb. We are dealing with a portion of the trunk. There are multiple factors in play. Was the owner negligent? The city? The ultility company? The OP? Is there definitive negligence or apportioned negligence?


                        Originally posted by goddessoflubboc View Post
                        Just for clarity, Act of God is not limited to huge occurrences such as tornadoes and earthquakes. To be precise it is an event that directly and exclusively results from the occurence of natural causes that could not have been prevented by the exercise of foresight or caution; an inevitable accident.

                        Most insurance policies exclude coverage for Acts of God.

                        This limb clearly is not an Act of God.
                        Due to a recent promotion, I should now be referred to as Major Obvious.

                        I would not be trying to provide information and knowledge if I did not sympathize.

                        Some days it is just not worth chewing through the restraints to face life.

                        Comment

                        Previously entered content was automatically saved. Restore or Discard.
                        Auto-Saved
                        Stick Out Tongue :p Smile :) Mad :mad: Wink ;) Frown :( Big Grin :D Confused :confused: Embarrassment :o Roll Eyes (Sarcastic) :rolleyes: Cool :cool: EEK! :eek:
                        x

                        the color of milk is... (write the answer twice with an "@" between the words)

                        widgetinstance 213 (Related Topics) skipped due to lack of content & hide_module_if_empty option.
                        Working...
                        X