A. However, that is not necessarily true. While you can trim the branches of a tree that extend onto your property, you may not trespass on your neighbor's property or cause damage to or kill the tree. My neighbors tree fell down in my yard during a wind storm. The branches had been trimmed on the property owner’s side by a previous owner, but they continue to grow on the side over the neighbor’s … However, such claims can often prove to be complicated. But if the tree fell without causing damage to a structure on your property, homeowners insurance likely won't cover the cost of removing the debris, according to the III. Your insurer will likely send an investigator to your home to take photographs of the damage and render estimates for the cost of repairs. An exception to this, attorney Steve Goldman with The Goldman Firm said, is … While the law states that the fallen tree in your yard, whether it is yours or not, is your responsibility to remove, your neighbor may be willing to help out. If the tree damaged your home, a homeowners insurance policy may help cover the cost of repairing your house as well as removing the fallen tree branches, the III says. When a tree falls over onto a neighbor's property, that neighbor should submit a claim to his or her insurance company immediately. Most trees have a replacement value of between $500 and $2500. In order to bring a claim against your neighbor, all of this must be thoroughly investigated. Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2017 but has been updated as of June 2018. What to Do . Contact us today! “If the neighbor’s tree falls on your house, it’s your problem,” says Gary Blackwell, an independent insurance agent based in Corinth, Maine. However, if the tree fell because it was dead and rotting, you might possibly make a case that your neighbor is responsible for any damages due to negligent upkeep. Therefore, we recommend that you hire an insured professional for any significant landscaping projects.). There are some things to consider if you have a problem with a tree on a shared property line: It’s important to keep in mind that you could be found responsible if your own tree causes damages to a neighbor’s property. A homeowner sought advice from a real estate professional about potential liability for the 250 year old oak in the back yard because it extended over the next door neighbor’s property line. (The Tree Care Industry Association lists accredited tree … With upstate New York offices in Albany, Saugerties, and Johnstown, we routinely handle cases throughout a wide service area, and are experienced in litigating personal injury and property damage claims. The homeowner was reluctant to have it cut down due to the cost and aesthetics, but wanted to legally be in the clear. If you have suffered personal injury or property damage as a result of a fallen tree, please contact us for a free consultation. The insurance company is usually responsible for taking care of the damages. The oak is the responsibility of the present homeowner. Johnstown, NY 12095. It might seem unfair that if it’s your neighbor’s tree that damages your home, you should have to pay. If an otherwise healthy tree or limb fell during a bad storm, the homeowner may be able to rely upon an “act of God” defense. If the insurance payment is not sufficient to cover the costs, or if the damages exceed the policy limits, you may have a right to bring suit against the neighbor. When leaves fall from your tree and create debris in … Causation means that the neighbor's breach of duty was responsible for the tree falling onto your property, and that it was foreseeable to a reasonable person in your neighbor's position that the tree would fall down if steps were not taken to prevent it from falling. That's right, even if the tree is rooted in your neighbor's yard, if it crashes onto your property, it's your problem. Trees are a common dispute among neighbors. With the winter season upon us, trees often become heavy with snow and ice, sometimes causing large limbs to snap and fall to the ground. Since these types of claims can become very complex, it is likely in your best interest to work with an experienced attorney throughout the process. Johnstown, NY 12095. It is far better to be proactive than continue to allow dangerous/hazardous property conditions to present a liability. Fallen trees are near the top of every list of potential disasters. - Answered by a verified Real Estate Lawyer We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our website. Tree disputes can take many forms, such as trees that fall on a neighbor's property and cause damage or circumstances where a neighbor's tree blocks what would be a scenic or otherwise pleasant view. As a general rule, if a tree limb protrudes on your property, and presents a possible risk of harm, you have the right to exercise “self help,” and remove it yourself before it causes damage. Does that impact my ability to pursue compensation if I am injured? You may not go onto the neighbor's property or destroy the tree. The mere fact that a tree falls does not necessarily imply negligence. Governor Cuomo Suspends Statute of Limitations in New York State, All-Terrain Vehicle Safety & New York State ATV Laws, Understanding New York State’s Serious Injury Threshold, For Matrimonial & Family Law, visit AlbanyDivorce.com, Illegal Trash-Outs / Wrongful Foreclosures. Can they just throw all the branches over the fence into my back yard? Your neighbor. If your neighbor’s tree falls during a storm and damages your house, you should still be covered by your homeowners insurance policy. Call us at (800) 721-3553 or contact us online to set up a free case review. Even though the tree trunk is on your neighbor’s property, anything from the tree that falls onto your property is your … I've had five foot branches fall off my health tree into my neighbor's yard due to bad weather. The following resource is a good place to start: Fallen Trees & NY Premises Liability for Homeowners – Learn more about premises liability when it comes to neighbors’ trees and find out what your rights are if a neighbor’s tree is hanging over your property line. (However, be aware that you would be responsible if you cause damage while cutting your own tree. Every major storm brings threats to homeowners. Signs of tree damage might include trunks that are tilted and leaning, signs of disease, limbs that are bare of leaves, or visibly apparent cracked and broken limbs. If at all possible, we encourage you to attempt to work out any problems with your neighbor before you take maintenance in your own hands. In order to hold a neighbor liable for the damages to your property caused by a fallen tree, there must be proof that the neighbor was aware that their tree was unsafe. This is true if the tree fell over due to an act of nature. When police officer came and blocked out road my neighbor told police officer it was my tree but it was clear it was on the border on his property and a quarter on mine. © 2020 Maynard, O'Connor, Smith & Catalinotto, LLP – Personal Injury, 3154 Route 9w But what happens when a property owner’s tree or limb falls in some else’s yard, and causes damage to personal property, such as a home or car? that the tree's … If you do damage the tree, your neighbor can sue you for triple the stumpage value of the tree. Give us a call today at (800) 721-3553, contact us online for a free case review, or reach out to us using the form below. Your failure to take such preventative actions may be a defense to your claim. Likewise, if the tree had fallen on the neighbor’s home, the neighbor’s insurance would have covered his loss. If a neighbor’s tree falls in your yard, you might expect that the neighbor is responsible. Consideration should also be given to the concept of “contributory negligence.” In other words, it’s important to consider whether or not your actions contributed to the scenario that resulted in damage. If the tree was left in a state of decay and that condition caused its fall, then your neighbor is liable to you for the cost of repairing the damage to your house and for the removal of the tree from your property coupled with the damage to your garden, grass, etc. In New York state, if a tree on my property falls on a neighbor's house, am I liable for the damage? Neighbors and Trees. One of the best things to do is to regularly have large trees trimmed. Who Is Responsible If a Neighbor’s Tree Falls on Your Property? When such damage occurs to your neighbor’s home due to forces outside your control, e.g., weather events, your neighbors may have to file a claim with their insurer to receive a reimbursement for the damage a down tree or branches cause. Proof that the neighbor was aware of such concerns may be indicative of negligence. However, if you can prove your neighbor was negligent in caring for the dead or dying tree, it could easily become their insurance company’s problem. Governor Cuomo Suspends Statute of Limitations in New York State, All-Terrain Vehicle Safety & New York State ATV Laws, Understanding New York State’s Serious Injury Threshold, For Matrimonial & Family Law, visit AlbanyDivorce.com, Illegal Trash-Outs / Wrongful Foreclosures. Albany, Johnstown, Saugerties, Amsterdam, Maynard, O'Connor, Smith & Catalinotto, LLP – Personal Injury, Fallen Trees and NY Premises Liability for Homeowners. It is difficult to predict where a tree will fall, but landing on a neighbor's house is well within the realm of possibility. I signed a waiver. If a tree falls down into another’s person’s yard due to natural causes like a storm, the tree owner is not liable. Ready to take the first step towards obtaining the compensation you’re entitled to? or constructive notice (should the neighbor have known, in the exercise of reasonable care, that their tree presented a risk of danger?). As experienced premises liability lawyers serving Albany, Saugerties and Johnstown, and the surrounding areas, we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Fallen Trees and NY Premises Liability for Homeowners. © 2020 Maynard, O'Connor, Smith & Catalinotto, LLP – Personal Injury, 3154 Route 9w Ornamental or landmark trees can have a … Many homeowners are surprised to discover that if a neighbor’s tree falls on their house, it’s usually their own homeowners policy—not their neighbor’s—that will cover the cost of the damages. A lot of people call us and say, hey, this tree fell from my neighbors house into our yard, and I want you to give us an estimate and we’ll give it to them. This requires proof of either actual notice (did you previously point out concerns about a tree, and ask your neighbor to resolve it?) No damage to their property has occurred. If the tree, or some of its branches, falls, the result may be severe damage to a house, a car, a boat, or other valuable property. While you may adore that special tree that sits near the property line between you and your neighbor, your neighbor may feel differently. Saugerties, NY 12177, 122 West Main St. If the trunk stands partly on the land of two or more people, it is called a boundary tree, and in most cases it belongs to all the property owners. Litigating a tree case can require investigation, discovery, and sometimes even requires expert proof from an arborist of tree specialist. For the most part, your own homeowners insurance will typically cover the costs of any repairs, as well as costs for removing the tree and any related property damage. The best way to avoid such a claim is to prevent it in the first place, by looking for early signs of trouble and maintaining the trees on your property. If the tree is on the property line, both property owners share the value of the tree and are responsible for upkeep on their side of the boundary line. Their Property, Their Homeowners Policy. It’s possible for you to be held responsible for resulting damage to your neighbor’s house or property, if your tree falls due (in whole or part) to your own neglect. Funny thing about trees: If a tree or limb falls onto your neighbor’s property and damages it, your neighbor’s home insurance will pay for the damage as well as the cleanup; but only for their side. Tell them that if the tree falls and injures or kills someone, or damages your property in any way, you will hold them responsible. A Personal Injury Law Firm You Can Trust. Who is responsible, when your tree, or a branch from your tree, falls on your neighbor’s garage or fence or shed and causes serious damage? The tree owner is responsible, if he’s been warned to take it down and he didn’t. Either way, you need to know that your neighbor has received your communication. “If the tree appeared healthy prior to the fall, you are not responsible for any damage that the falling tree caused on your neighbor’s property.” Conversely, any property owner aware that a tree is diseased or rotten is likely to be responsible if it causes damage or injury to someone. The branches had been trimmed on the property owner’s side by a previous owner, but they continue to grow on the side over the neighbor’s yard. In this case, the law is clear. The neighbors would have a right to sue, especially if any damages arise from the branches or entire tree falling. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Trees that may have started out small and manageable have a natural tendency to grow and mature so that, in time, branches overhang a property line. If your neighbor’s tree has fallen on your property, it is you who is responsible for the damage incurred. If leaves, acorns, twigs or other debris from a neighbor’s tree falls onto your property, you are responsible for cleaning this debris up. Now, turning to your potential claim against your neighbor, in states like New York, the determination as to whether you have a claim depends on the condition of the tree prior to its fall. There is one exception, however. Editor’s note: This content was originally published in 2015 but has been updated as of January 2019. State your concerns clearly, and ask them to get their tree evaluated by a Certified Arborist. I would just like to know my rights and responsibilities. If you do harm the tree, you could be found liable for up to three times the value of the tree. If you were unaware of the tree’s condition then you are not liable for the damages to your neighbor’s property. The insurance company is usually responsible for taking care of the damages. Before getting upset, remember that it is very likely that your insurance will cover any damages and the cost of removal as well. Homeowners are responsible for acting reasonably in caring for their trees and other property. When a tree falls over onto a neighbor’s property, that neighbor should submit a claim to his or her insurance company immediately. Albany, Johnstown, Saugerties, Amsterdam, Maynard, O'Connor, Smith & Catalinotto, LLP – Personal Injury. We can help you understand if your situation warrants legal action and, if it does, help you move forward with a premises liability case. If your neighbor’s trees are a threat to your property – if they look weak, rotting, or … A homeowner sought advice from a real estate professional about potential liability for the 250 year old oak in the back yard because it extended over the next door neighbor’s property line. contact us online to set up a free case review, Fallen Trees & NY Premises Liability for Homeowners. Tree cases can be tricky, and are frequently factually specific. When negligence is not a factor, Connecticut law states that whosever property a tree falls on is responsible. If the neighbor took reasonable care of the tree … A tree that poses a danger to your property, or one that inhibits your ability to enjoy your property, may actually constitute a violation of local ordinances or codes. It is accepted law in all states that a tree whose trunk stands wholly on the land of one person belongs to that person. In order to hold a neighbor liable for the damages to your property caused by a fallen tree, there must be proof that the neighbor was aware that their tree was unsafe. I lost a tree and it fell on part on my neighbor’s fence, and he is becoming a bit belligerent over it. I've tried to be a good neighbor, but they have not been due to many other reasons. New York Property Line and Fence Laws at a Glance. This is true if the tree fell over due to an act of nature. Who is responsible for those repairs? The Town came and cut down half the tree to clear out the road. Again, if you’re not sure if a tree needs maintenance, it’s probably best to get a tree consultant to assess the risk. Looking for additional legal insight regarding fallen trees? A Personal Injury Law Firm You Can Trust. Because of this, the tree became lopsided now laying slightly in the neighbor’s direction. While it may not be necessary to remove the tree, an arborist can identify hazards, disease and decay and propose remedies. Q: I live in a single-family house, adjacent to a large condo in Roslyn, N.Y. A big tree on the condo’s property has roots encroaching onto my property. For example, a healthy tree that falls over during a tornado, hurricane, windstorm or winter storm would not be the responsibility of the … If your property is jeopardized by landscaping features or hazards from adjacent buildings that have become unstable, you may have a cause of action to file a lawsuit on the grounds of premises liability. The concern was that, due to its advanced age, the tree would eventually topple at some point. While the neighbor’s have the right to prune branches hanging over their property line, the branches create a nuisance. With high winds and heavy snow, entire trees may topple over. I signed a waiver. Given its present angle of tilt, it could fall on the neighbor’s house. 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