|If My Tree Falls On My Neighbors Property, Who Is responsible?|
|Hurricane Season is here. And with it the worrisome thoughts for pending storm damage. Trees uprooting due to heavy rain and wind is common in our area of Sarasota, Florida. Trees fall for other reasons such as the natural death of a tree or a tree could fall because of construction and the planned removal gone bad. With so much building going on in Sarasota, Florida, we see many areas where trees are removed to make way for new construction.But in each of these situations where your tree topples onto your neighbor’s property, when are you liable? Here’s a general overview:
In a construction zone many licensed contractors will have liability insurance that will cover these sorts of damages, so you may not have to bear the liability. But if it is determined that the fatal fallen tree is a result of your misguided direction you may be an additional deep pocket your neighbor seeks damages from. If you are the one doing the construction and your negligence couases your neighbor damage then the liability most likely “falls” on you.
Acts of God such as a lightening strike or heavy storm can send a healthy tree onto yours or your neighbors property. This is generally not something that you can prepare for or prevent so each homeowner is usually covered by their insurance policy.
On the other hand, if the tree is dead or dying then the the general rule for liability hinges on whether the tree owner “knew or should have known that his tree was unsafe.”
So if you failed to make reasonable inspection of your property, and a diseased or dying tree tips onto your neighbor’s land, you’re likely to be held liable even in the best neighborhoods in Sarasota.
So, accept your trees as your responsibility and inspect them regularly and take good care of them to avoid the pitfalls of having trees in your yard. Many Realtors have sources for referrals for a good arborist. From someone that has over 8 old oak trees in my yard, I can tell you who to call. Call me, Susan Phelps, at 941-726-2227 for a good recommendation in the Sarasota area.