Falling Tree Kills San Ramon Woman

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Falling Tree Kills San Ramon Woman, Injure Others

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento tree injury lawyer and I want you to know the dangers of falling trees. On 7 January, a woman died in San Ramon after being struck by a falling tree. Although the most severe, she was one of several people injured by falling trees during the heavy storms that blanketed northern California.

What happened?

At approximately 10:40 a.m., the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District were dispatched to the golf course after receiving reports of an unconscious woman. The fire department arrived at approximately 10:50 a.m. where they discovered 56-year-old Deborah McKeown of San Ramon. She was then transported to San Ramon Regional Medical Center where she died.

Details are sparse on the circumstances of the accident, but McKeown was apparently killed by a falling tree. The tree was likely unstable in the ground saturated by recent storms. High winds throughout Contra Costa County and other areas of the delta on 7 January were therefore likely able to topple the already unstable tree.

Local officials are investigating. McKeown’s cause of death is still unknown.

Other Injuries from Falling Trees

Although McKeown’s death is the most severe accident involving a falling tree, several other Californians were injured by falling trees in the heavy storms that blanketed northern California.

On 8 January, two families escaped major injury when a tree fell on  their apartment building in San Francisco. Two hours later, a falling tree hospitalized a man near Beach Chalet. His injuries were deemed non-life threatening,

Meanwhile, people in the Sacramento region were similarly at risk. For instance, a woman in East Sacramento narrowly escaped serious injury when a tree fell on her car on 10 January.

Official Warnings

The National Weather Service (NWS), the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and several local agencies have all warned people to exercise extreme caution in heavily forested areas and around older trees. They further recommend that those with trees close to their homes have them assessed by an arborist and potentially cut down.

Why is the danger so high this year?

The risk of injury from trees felled by storms is much higher this winter because many trees throughout California are extremely unstable. The prolonged drought in California weakened many trees’ root systems, creating gaps in the soil which can easily be saturated with water. These water-filled gaps, loosen the tree’s position in the ground, enabling strong winds to topple them.

Common Injuries from Falling Trees

Extremity trauma is the most common injury from falling trees. This often includes broken legs, fractured ankles, serious knee injuries, shoulder dislocations, and broken collarbones. Head trauma is also common with accidents involving trees, as is neck, back, or even spinal cord injury.

When trees strike people, they can also cause severe abdominal trauma and crushed rib cages. The crushed rib cages are especially dangerous because they can penetrate and collapse lungs.

Risk of Injury due to Trees Hitting Power Lines

Some of the most common injuries from fallen trees occur secondary to the trees’ actual descent. Many trees, when they fall, strike power lines. This sometimes brings power lines to the ground where people come into contact with them.

Injuries arising from this type of contact often include electrocution, second and third degree burns, and nerve damage. In extreme cases or in cases of a pre-existing medical condition, these types of accidents can also cause heart trauma and/or difficulty breathing.

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Deborah McKeown who lost her life in this terrible tragedy.

Sacramento Tree Injury & Wrongful Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento tree injury lawyer, practicing since 1982.  If you need assistance in pursuing a claim due to injuries or death from a fallen tree limb or fallen tree, I would be happy to review your case, talk to you about your serious injuries and represent you in your claim.

I have handled numerous injury claims due to fallen trees and limbs. I understand the complexities relating to these types of cases.  Keep in mind that claims against a governmental agency, a city or state usually falls under claims that must be filed immediately.  If a claim is not filed within 6 months from the date of injury, a person may be forever barred from pursuing compensation for the resulting injuries to that person and/or their property.  Since timeliness is so crucial, it is wise to promptly contact a personal injury lawyer to assist you. For free, friendly advice, please call me now (916) 921-6400 or toll free at (800) 404-5400.

I am a member of the  Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Members of the forum are ranked top US trial lawyers who have obtained million dollar verdicts.

See my proven track record here:  Past Verdicts and Settlements.

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Image Attribution: Wikimedia Commons

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