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Are you responsible for downed trees?

If a tree falls down after a bad storm, you may think that you are not responsible for it if it was not yours. According to the Washington Post, though, determining responsibility can sometimes be complicated.

You may assume that when a neighbor’s tree falls on your property, your neighbor should remove it and pay for any damage. However, this is not always the case. Responsibility usually depends on whether or not your neighbor was negligent. When roots and limbs extend into your yard, you are allowed to cut them. If you thought certain branches were a problem and did not remove them, your neighbor may not be legally responsible for the tree.

There are many circumstances, however, in which your neighbor might have been negligent. If you repeatedly said the tree was not safe, then the downed tree might be your neighbor’s responsibility after all. Negligent behavior can also include failing to have trees inspected and ignoring any sign of a problem. If the tree which fell down was a healthy tree, though, your neighbor might have had no way of knowing it could be unsafe. This would make the downed tree your responsibility.

Although you may like the thought of clear responsibility, this might not always be achievable. It may sometimes be best to compromise if you and your neighbor cannot agree. You may want to pay half the cost of removing the tree, as well as help pay for any damage it caused.

This information is intended to educate and should not be considered legal advice.


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