If my car was damaged on someone’s property, how can I get them to pay for that damage?

A tree limb fell from a tree due to high winds during a storm. The company is saying they are not liable due to it being an act of God. They claim no prior

knowledge of anything being wrong with the tree and I would have to prove that they knew something was wrong to file a claim.

Asked on March 4, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

They are essentially correct. A property owner is not automatically liable for all damage occuring on their property; rather, they--and therefore also their insurer--would only have to pay if they were "at fault" in some way. In a case like this, that generally means having some knowlede, or at least good reason to know, that the tree or this limb posed some particular danger (e.g. the limb was obviously or visibly dead; the tree was obviously ill; etc.) and, despite having knowledge of an enhanced risk, they failed to take reasonable steps (e.g. cutting the limb off) to safeguard others. If there was no reason to think the tree or this limb posed a greater-than-usual risk, they did nothing wrong and would not be liable.

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