Falling Trees and Limbs: Car Damage

Falling Trees and Limbs: Car Damage

Falling Trees and Limbs

Falling Trees and Limbs: Car Damage

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento tree accident lawyer.  When Pacific storms bring wild winds and heavy rain a common result is falling trees and limbs. In this article we will be discussing what happens when a tree or limb causes damage to an automobile.

Who’s Liable When a Tree Falls on my Car?

If a large tree or limb from a tree comes down on your car it can cause serious property damage.

Sometimes, this damage to your vehicle may be covered under your policy of auto insurance. In other instances, it may be covered through the insurance coverage of the property owner.

In the event the damage is not covered by insurance, who, if anyone at all, can be held legally responsible for property damage to your vehicle caused by a falling tree or limb?

Premises Liability – Negligence

The most common way to recover compensation for damage to your car caused by a dropped limb or fallen tree would be through filing a claim against the owner of the property for negligence. Negligence usually requires that a person owes a duty of reasonable care to another person. A person may violate that duty causing injury and/or property damage.

For example, one type of reasonable care is a duty of property owners to maintain their property in a manner that is reasonably safe. A property owner who does not take reasonable measures to prevent individuals from being hurt by conditions that are dangerous on their properties may be found liable for this negligence under the legal theory called premises liability.

What is considered Reasonable?

In order to prove premises liability in a falling tree or limb incident, it must generally be shown that a property owner failed to use reasonable care in the maintenance of his or her trees. Sometimes, this may be hard to prove.

For example, when it comes to trees, what is reasonable care? Going out and looking at them once a year? Paying for an experienced arborist to do a tree inspection? Bottom line, you may need to prove that the property owner knew or should have known the tree was bound to fall or lose limbs in a dangerous manner. Additionally, you may need to prove that the damage was not a recent “act of God” event. But, something that had developed over a period of time.

What if the Tree belongs to the Government?

If the tree is on property owned by the state, city, county or other government entity, you will need to observe the special rules for filing suit against government entities. This usually requires filing with a specific amount of time following the incident. Usually, six months or 180 days after the occurrence.

Additionally, government entity premises liability claims may be bound by immunity statutes (by state) that establish a reduced standard of reasonable care than that of private owners of property.

Experienced Sacramento Tree Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento tree accident lawyer.  If you or a family member has suffered a serious injury or property damage caused by falling tree and limbs please call me at (916) 921-6400. An experienced personal injury attorney can properly explain your legal options and advise you on what your next step should be.  Give me a call for free, friendly, advice. When calling outside of Sacramento, simply dial me toll free at:  800-404-5400.

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Photograph Attribution: By J.smith (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommon.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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