Tree down! Who’s responsible for damages?

Joe Stanley of Stanley Law Offices discusses what to do and who's liable for damages if a tree falls on your house or car

To say that the weather hasn’t been the most cooperative as we begin our Central NY summer is an understatement! Lately, there have been some pretty hefty storms throughout Central New York. Downed trees on top of cars, house damage, flooding. Sometimes I do get calls like “Hey, how come they’re not paying for my roof when a tree fell through it?”

You can send those emails, because usually all homeowners’ insurance covers you if the tree falls on your property, and your car it should if you’ve got collision it falls on it. But if you don’t have a collision and a tree falls on it you might be out of luck. If a trees fall on your property and you don’t have the right coverage, then to remove those trees might not be covered. Those are all issues specified in your insurance policy.

And what if it’s your neighbor’s tree? I’ve had cases where people call and complain where a tree fell, it was a neighbor’s tree and it crushed their car and they didn’t have collision. In that case, you’ve got to prove that the tree, trees are always a tough case by the way, but that the neighbor knew or should have known that it was dangerous, that it was half dead. For example, if it just comes down as a result of a freak storm and it’s their tree but it falls on your property, it then becomes your tree. It becomes your problem. If it falls on your house however, it’s covered with your homeowners’ policy.

“…you’ve got to prove that the tree, trees are always a tough case by the way, but that the neighbor knew or should have known that it was dangerous, that it was half dead.”

If it falls on your car, it’s covered by your car collision coverage if you have it. If you don’t have either, that’s an interesting question. If the tree falls on your property and you don’t have homeowners coverage for removal of trees, but your neighbor does, does his company have to clean up the tree that fell on your property? I never had that one. That’s a new one, but I’m sure it’s happened.


If it’s a neighborhood tree that’s not clearly on an individual’s property, then who’s responsible for it if the neighbors want it removed? It’s really a debate and not always cut and dry. The bottom line, trees you need to keep track of to make sure they’re healthy. Because a lot of them they give you warning signs. You really don’t want to be in the line of fire of a tree that’s 100 feet tall.

Always feel free to email any question you may have and I’ll do my best to respond. Email me at Joe@StanleyLawOffices.com or phone 1-800-608-3333, Stanley Law Offices.com is also our website and we answer many frequently asked personal injury questions on there for you in advance. If you’re seriously injured, every initial consultation is FREE and we only get paid when we win your case.

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Posted By: Joe Stanley

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