Many people have several types of trees on their property; they add shade and complement landscaping. Trees can also damage houses when they fall, however, so disputes between neighbors are not uncommon when one falls over a property line. So, if a tree falls on a neighbor’s house, who’s liable? It depends.
When a Homeowner Isn’t Liable for His/Her Tree Falling on Your House
If an act of nature causes a neighbor’s healthy tree to fall on your house, the neighbor cannot be held responsible. It’s not their fault the tree blew over. In this scenario, you should submit a claim to your insurance company immediately, as insurance is designed to cover perilous acts on your home.
Though the homeowner whose rooted tree fell isn’t to blame, some cases arise in which neighbors sue neighbors to recover their deductible. Some might argue it makes sense for both homeowners to split the deductible and save on costly attorney’s fees, but the line in these situations can look blurry.
When a Homeowner Can Be Held Liable for a Tree Falling
If a neighbor knows about a diseased or dying tree, does nothing, and that tree falls onto your house, your neighbor could be held liable for damages. When people have ailing trees, it’s their responsibility to take action that might prevent that tree from falling over. In a similar case, if an unhealthy tree falls over during a light storm that wouldn’t normally uproot a tree, the homeowner could also be liable if he or she knew the tree was sick. Essentially, anyone who owns trees should ensure they stay healthy to avoid conflicts like these.
Also, if your neighbor’s tree falls on your house while he/she is attempting to cut it down without professional assistance, the neighbor is at fault for any ensuing damage. In the event a homeowner is at fault for damage, he or she should file a claim with the insurance company, and the insurance will investigate and defend the homeowner if a neighbor sues.
Although regular tree maintenance performed by a professional arborist can be costly, the expense usually justifies any financial or neighborly fallout from property damage to a residence. Expert tree services might include analysis, possible treatment, complete removal, and regular preventative care. To learn more about how routine tree maintenance can help keep your trees happy and healthy, call Gordon Pro Tree Service at 770-271-6072.