Am I Covered if a Neighbor’s Tree Falls on My Property?
Big storms tend to fell big trees, and we see plenty of this in Panama City. Many people, however, are confused about who is responsible for dealing with fallen trees – and that’s because the situation can be complicated. Better understanding the basics regarding toppled trees can help. If you’re facing a storm-related property concern, don’t hesitate to contact or call an experienced Florida insurance claims attorney today.
When It Comes to Fallen Trees, It’s Not Black and White
The immense power generated by tropical storms and hurricanes can fell trees – and a lot of them. If a tree on your property falls onto someone else’s property or someone else’s tree falls on yours, you no doubt have plenty of questions about who is responsible for the cleanup and damage, and the answers to these questions may come as a surprise.
If the Municipality Owns the Tree
If a tree that’s forced down by a storm is owned by the municipality, it is responsible for removing the tree, which tends to be a significant job. It’s important to note that any tree that’s on city property – such as on the boulevards that line our streets – is owned by the city (even if the tree is directly in front of your home). If the tree damages your property in the process of falling, you’ll need to file a Notice of Claim in your effort to be compensated for your losses.
Liability for Damages
When it comes to trees falling on other people’s property, many people erroneously believe that the person whose property the tree is on is responsible for any ensuing damages, but there’s a lot more to it than this. In fact, this liability is more of an exception and is based on prior knowledge. If you knew or should have known any of the following, you could be found liable:
- The tree was decaying
- The tree showed outward signs of decay
- The tree was otherwise vulnerable to falling
If none of these apply, however, you likely will not be held responsible for covering any resulting damages.
On the point of the municipality and its liability, it’s a similar situation, but the municipality has an obligation to perform reasonable tree inspections to help eliminate unnecessary danger and destruction. If your property was damaged by a decaying tree owned by your municipality, you’ll have a far stronger case if you – or anyone else – shared (in writing) your concern about the danger posed by the decaying tree. If the municipality or the tree owner is not on the hook for the property damage, the issue comes down to a matter of insurance.
Seek the Professional Legal Counsel of an Experienced Panama City Insurance Claims Attorney
If you’re facing damage from someone else’s fallen tree (or vice versa), the matter will very likely be resolved between your insurance companies. And the dedicated Panama City insurance claims attorneys at Ged Lawyers, LLP, are here to help ensure that your rights are well-protected throughout the process. Your claim matters, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 850-684-4000 for more information today.