Falling Trees: Liability?

I'm having some cognitive dissonance around my understanding of falling-tree liability.
Person A has a mostly-dead tree on their property - poised to fall across the property line on to Person B's property.
The way I understand it, once the tree falls on to Person B's property, it's 100% Person B's problem to remove it.
The dissonance comes when I think that, if Person B were to cut that tree while it were standing, Person A would have legal recourse against them.
In other words, the one who has control over the tree has no liability for the tree when it falls whereas the person whose property the tree falls on has no control over the tree but suffers the damage.
Take it a step further where the tree falls on somebody's house or outbuilding....
Doesn't compute for me.... and it seems like legal stuff is, in the final analysis, logical..... but this seems not.
What am I missing?
--
Pete Cresswell

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(PeteCresswell) wrote:

Put the neighbor on notice that the tree is a danger. An email - keep a copy - would do, a certified letter with return receipt would be better.
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On 5/8/2015 2:33 PM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

I think you are generally correct.
There may be a situation where fallen tree could cost insurance company and insurance company may contact owner and pay them to remove the tree which would be cheaper than their liability if the tree would fall on their insured's house.
Currently watching one in my back yard where neighbor in back has tree fallen on next door neighbors tree where broken branches are falling in my back yard. Going to be fun to see what develops.
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Wife wanted me to take a picture something else outside but also did this for ng:
http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=majf6h&s=8#.VU0UUZOm0bY
Like I say above, involves three of us.
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There are all kinds of rullings on things similar to this. Probably depends on where you are at too. Around here the way I understand it,if the owner of the tree knows it is rotten and ready to fall and it does, then it is his problem, especially if it falls on your car or building. If the tree is in good shape, then the other rulings apply.
Similar to the dumb animal act here. If a farmer's cow gets out and you hit it with a car, you pay. If you can prove the animal has a history of getting out several times , then the farmer pays for failing to take reasonable care to keep the cow out of the road.
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On 05/08/2015 01:33 PM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

In my community, all I have to do is inform the city of the danger and they will give the owner notice to have the danger taken care of.
If the owner does nothing, the city will take care of it and put the charges on the owner's bill.
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wrote:

The law says that you can (but are not required to) trim any part of your neighbor's tree that is on (or above) your property. If you do not choose to do that, and the tree or a falling branch falls on your property, you are responsible as you noted above. HOWEVER, if the tree is known to be sick and ready to fall, your neighbor is responsible to take care of it before it falls and does damage. If he knows (or should have known) the tree was dangerous, he is responsible to pay for the damage to your property. If he says it isn't dangerous and you disagree, get an expert opinion and let the neighbor know.
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(PeteCresswell) wrote:

About 1985 or '86 , my neighbor's tree fell on my house in a wind/rain/thunder storm . I had asked him many times to do something , as it was splitting more and more ... well , he didn't and it fell , damaging my house . His insurance refused to cover , but my insco did pay out for the loss . They then sued the homeowner and his insco to recover . He put up a fence and acted thereafter as if I didn't exist . Small person , small loss . I think you'll find that if your neighbor's tree damages your property that he's liable . I believe it's called tort liability ...
--
Snag



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wrote:

I agree with everything you said except the last paragraph. If the tree appears to perfectly healthy and yet it comes down in, for example, a tornado, the law considers that an "act of God". In that case, everyone pays for their own damage. In your first paragraph, that wasn't the case. Everyone knew it was splitting and you had asked him to fix it. Therefore, he was liable.
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Pat wrote:

The case presented by the OP is very similar . The tree is dead , it has a high probability of causing damage . The homoaner has been made aware ... therefore he is liable . BTW , in re "Acts of God" , so all those people who lost everything in say a tornado or hurricane are just SOL ?
--
Snag



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wrote:

Depends on your coverage. You can buy storm damage insurance. Not all home insurance covers storm damage.
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On Fri, 08 May 2015 21:54:31 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I think you guys are really saying the same thing:
- In the OPs case, where the tree is dead/known by the neighbor to be dangerous, the neighbor could indeed be liable if it damages something.
- In the general case, of a tree that appears healthy, it's considered an "act of god" and everyone cleans up their own damage (including the cost of removing the portion of tree that ends up on their property; my parents dealt with this after Sandy).
- "Act of god" doesn't mean insurance won't cover; someone's insurance should cover in both cases. In the first, the neighbor's liability insurance would be responsible (just as if someone slipped on his unshoveled steps etc). In the second, the person who has the damage would be covered by their own homeowner's insurance, if it covers such (most do, but people should carefully look at any storm exclusions).
Even in the first case, the person who has the tree fall on their property could call their own insurance first, and let them subrogate to the tree's owner if negligence is found.
Josh
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wrote:

No. Of course not. Your insurance covers "Acts of God". The point is you cannot sue your neighbor for "acts of God". You can sue him for "acts of your neighbor" like not taking care of his trees.
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For the cost of a registered letter, you greatly increase the odds in your favor if things ever go to a legal proceeding. Send the letter!!!
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