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Liability for Tree Damage During a Storm

Updated February 21, 2017

Storms can cause a tremendous amount of damage within a community, including damage related to falling trees. Those who live in areas prone to intense storms should take all safety precautions to limit the amount of damage that can occur.

God's Fault

When a tree crashes down during a storm and damages your neighbour's property, you will not be held liable unless your neighbour can prove negligence on your part. This is known as an Act of God in legal terms. Negligence can be proven if your neighbour made you aware of a safety hazard concerning your tree and you did nothing to resolve the matter.

Ownership

Only the owner of a tree can be held liable if that tree falls during a storm and creates damage. Ownership of the tree is determined by the placement of the trunk in relation to the property line. Whichever side of the property line the trunk rests on, that person is the legal owner. If the trunk rests on the property line, both neighbours have equal ownership and equal liability.

Warning

Homeowners insurance will cover the cost related to a fallen tree during a storm if a claim is filed. However, this will lead to an increase in premiums. Before suing someone for fallen tree related damage, make sure it's worth it. Proving negligence in a court of law can be difficult. If you lose, the court costs can outweigh the cost of the damage.

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About the Author

Based in California, Noel Shankel has been writing and directing since 2002. His work has been published in "Law of Inertia Magazine." Shankel has a Bachelor of Arts in film and writing from San Francisco State University.