Community Calls for Change After Fallen Tree Injures Resident

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January 28, 2023
Edward Smith

Community Petitions for Change After Fallen Tree Injury Accident

A community in Alameda County is coming together to show support after a freak accident from a fallen tree injured one of its neighbors and left the family homeless.

Residents in Castro Valley are asking Alameda County officials to quickly remove a 200-ton eucalyptus tree that fell on top of a home on Sandy Road and other hazardous nearby trees.

The Tragic Castro Valley Tree Accident

On the afternoon of January 8, 2023, Jose Gonzalez, his wife, and four minor children were inside their home when the unthinkable happened. Jose was on the couch watching a football game on television when a massive tree smashed through the roof and split the house.

Jose became trapped under the tree with debris from the roof caving in. Alameda County Fire Department responded to the incident and quickly upgraded the mission to rescue efforts when they discovered Jose pinned beneath the tree. It took fire crews about an hour to rescue Jose and transport him to the hospital. He suffered significant injuries, including broken bones and a head contusion.

Community’s Support for the Gonzalez Family

Jose’s wife, Heather, said he remains in the hospital and has a long road to recovery. He has significant rehab ahead of him and will have to learn to walk again. Aside from Jose’s severe injuries, the family is now without a home.

Neighbors and friends had set up a donation page on GoFundMe to help the Gonzalez family. They say Jose is the sole breadwinner, and his family struggles to stay afloat with him still recovering in the hospital. Heather is doing her best to manage the four children, who are still attending school. But with their house in disarray, the family has been displaced.

Neighbors Demand the County Remove Dangerous Trees

Residents in the same neighborhood said a second tree fell a few days later, and there are several risky eucalyptus trees along the Kelly Canyon Creek banks that tower over their homes. They said the first incident was a nightmare they don’t want to see repeated.

Many homeowners said they can’t afford to remove the trees, which could cost about $10,000 to $15,000 per tree. They demand that Alameda County act quickly to remove trees threatening their homes. They said the creek is owned by the County and has not been checked on or looked at in a long time. They fear the soil is getting damper and the trees are getting heavier.

Residents said the County planted the trees years ago, and it is their responsibility to send an arborist to evaluate the trees’ safety. Thousands of people have signed an online petition asking County officials to act immediately.

Who is Responsible for a Fallen Tree Accident?

Whoever owns the land where the tree trunk stands is responsible for the fallen tree accident. Sometimes there is more than one owner if the trunk stands on a property line. Property owners are liable for injuries caused by a falling tree or limb, especially when they fail to maintain their trees properly. Whether you were hurt on public or private land, property owners are required by California law to ensure trees under their control are safe and secure.

Sometimes other individuals may be responsible if their negligence or careless actions contributed to the incident. Groundkeepers or arborists may have failed to use proper industry standards in maintaining the trees, or neighboring property owners may have improperly trimmed limbs overhanging onto their property, damaging the tree. 

California Tree Accident Claims and Lawsuits 

When an injury or death has occurred due to a fallen tree or limb, it’s essential to promptly investigate the incident to determine the following: 

  • Why did the tree or limb fall
  • Who owns the tree
  • Who is responsible for maintaining the tree
  • If any outside parties contributed to the incident

The investigation involves gathering evidence, such as taking pictures of the fallen tree or limb, requesting public records to prove property ownership, and identifying the owner’s insurance. 

You should submit an insurance claim for the injuries sustained in the incident. If an adequate and timely settlement can’t be resolved with the insurance company, it is essential to file a lawsuit. An experienced personal injury attorney will have the knowledge, skills, and resources to investigate and resolve your injury claim. 

Watch the YouTube video below to learn how to select the right personal injury attorney to handle your accident claim.

California Tree Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Northern California Tree Accident Attorney. If you or a family member has suffered serious injuries from a falling tree or branch, an experienced injury lawyer can make a huge difference in your case. Our legal team at has handled many injury claims due to falling trees and understands the complexities involved in these cases. We have the expertise, determination, and resources to help successfully resolve your claim. Call us at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

See our track record of successful verdicts and settlements.

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

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