Falling Tree Hazards


Falling Tree Hazards

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Tree Injury Lawyer. A falling tree can have devastating consequences with loss of property, traumatic injuries, and wrongful death. Knowing your rights and having a qualified personal injury attorney after a falling tree incident can help you recover damages.

Watch Youtube Video – Woman Escapes Injury When Tree Falls on Her Car – In this video you will hear from a woman who escaped injury after being trapped in her car by a tree that came crashing down on her along Alhambra Boulevard in Sacramento during one of the first severe weather events of 2017.

Reasons for Tree Hazards

There are many reasons trees fall. Some reasons are age, disease, weather, and the species of the tree. Environment also is a factor in the health and safety of many trees. Carelessness during tree removal is a working hazard for tree removal specialists and other workers in the forestry or logging industries as well.

Age and Condition of Trees

Age is a significant factor in tree falling hazards. Trees are living organisms that go through stages of life while they grow, decay, and die. Like any living organism, trees grow taller and wider, making them more beautiful but, more hazardous and prone to falling because their weight and length work against gravity. When trees become older, they lose the ability to regenerate their bark, branches, and core. An aging tree is more susceptible to insects, disease, and further deterioration of its body. This aging process makes it more likely a weather event will take down tree limbs or even the entire tree because of insect destruction and rot. A tree’s resistance to diseases is caused by different factors such as geographical location, tree species, insect damage, weather, soil conditions, the health of the trees, the health of the plants and the environment surrounding the trees. Frequent causes of tree diseases are bacteria, fungi, and tree viruses. Some common tree diseases are rust, mold, wilt, canker, mildew, root and butt (base of the tree) rot. The species of a tree matters in why trees fall. Different tree species have varying failure profiles because these trees have unique responses to environmental stressors such as weather, insects, soil, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Maples, conifers, ash, elm, and birch, for example, are more likely to have branch failures and should have routine inspections for branch weakness.

Environmental Factors

The environment, besides bacteria, fungi, and other destructive forces on tree bodies, is an important part of determining tree falling hazards. An environment where there are no other plants to hold the tree roots and where the soil is eroded from loss of vegetation is more likely to have falling tree hazards. This is especially true if the soil stripped of plants is on a steep slope where gravity and tree weight can pull the trees down.

Tree Hazards in Forestry and Logging

Forestry and logging are dangerous industries. Those who maintain trees and those who harvest them work in often hazardous conditions. Foresters who care for trees are in danger of falling trees that are old or diseased. Loggers face the challenges of cutting, yarding, loading, and hauling timber from harvest sites. Each aspect of the forestry and logging industries come with risks of property damage, serious injury, and death from falling trees.

Harvesting Trees

Harvesting trees can be hazardous if they are improperly felled. Insufficient training of workers and inadequate equipment and working in poor weather can lead to work accidents. Falling trees, however, do not always fall in storms or suddenly during logging. Loading and securing logs on a truck and transportation of logs can be hazardous. Trees can be improperly secured on truck beds and fall on workers or on passing cars during transportation.

Tree Fatality Statistics

According to Tree Care Industry Association, 580 people died in tree trimming accidents from 2009 through 2015. About 100 people, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), die per year from falling trees.

Preventing Trees From Falling

Falling tree hazards can be prevented first with purchase. Buying disease and insect resistant tree varieties for a specific geographical location is essential. Regular maintenance and inspection of trees, especially in areas prone to storms, hurricanes, and other destructive weather is critical to prevent fallen trees or fallen tree limbs resulting in destruction and traumatic injuries. Tree maintenance requires diligence in monitoring tree fertilizer, light, soil, and water conditions. Hiring tree professionals can help you maintain tree safety.

Preventing Forestry and Logging Injuries

Forestry and logging injuries and deaths can be prevented through training of workers, creation and following of regulations about work safety procedures, and employers providing the safety equipment for their employees. Protective equipment such as helmets to prevent injuries from branches falling and boots to prevent slipping during cutting are important to worker safety.

Liability for Tree Damage

Liability for tree damage depends on several factors. A property owner who does not take care of trees with regular inspection and maintenance can be liable for falling tree property damage, injuries, and death. Regular care for a tree is a necessary property owner responsibility. These liabilities extend to municipalities such as town, cities, and counties that should take care of property maintenance including trees. A possible exception to property liability is severe weather where trees fall in hurricanes, tornadoes, and other weather conditions which are out of a property owner’s control.

Necessity of Proper Training

Forestry and logging employers are responsible for providing equipment and training for their employees. Failure to provide training and equipment for employees can lead to legal liability. Having an attorney who understands personal injury, worker compensation, worker injury, and wrongful death law is useful after a tree falling injury, property damage, or death.


Damages you can receive depend on the injuries, property damage, or death you or your survivors suffer. It is useful for you to document property damage, injuries, or death through photographs, video, eyewitness, or police reports. Collect insurance information, medical bills including rehabilitation costs, and costs for job and income loss. Funeral bills and subsequent coverage for loss of income are possible for those who have lost their loved one to a falling tree fatality. The damages you receive may also depend on state laws and the caps that states place on damages and the time limits for filing lawsuits. Hiring an attorney knowledgeable in personal injury, property damage, and wrongful death can help you recover your damages from a falling tree incident.

Sacramento Falling Tree Accident Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento tree injury lawyer.  If you, or a member of your family has suffered a serious injury caused by a falling tree or tree limb, please give me a call at (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly advice. When you call, we will go over the details of your claim and I will explain your legal options and advise you on what your next steps should be. When calling from outside of the Sacramento region, simply call me toll free at (800) 404-5400. Or, if you prefer, reach out to me online.

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