What are my rights if my neighbor’s tree fell and damaged my pool pump?

At first he was so nice, telling me that he would get on it and make it right since it was his tree. He did repair the visible broken PVC, however the pump is only humming but nothing else is working. When I called and told him this, he claimed his lawyer advised him that state law doesn’t required him to repair the damage property and he did more than what he supposed to do. Do I have any recourse?

Asked on October 6, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The issue is, was he at fault? He would be at fault if there was some reason for him to know that the tree was a risk e.g it was visibily sick or dying it had started leaning excessively etc. but despite knowing or having reason to know of the risk, he failed to take action e.g. trim or take down the tree. In that case, the failure to take reasonable action to avoid a known or obvious risk is negligent, and he should be liable. However, if there was no reason to think that this tree posed any special risk, then he did nothing wrong in not taking action not having been at fault, he would not be liable and would not have to pay. 
The easiest way for you to get compensation, regardless of fault, is to apply to your own insurer that is what you have insurance for. And if you don't have insurance that would cover losses like this, get it for the future insurance provides compensation when there is no one at fault, or when there is an at-fault person but they won't pay voluntarily and you'd rather avoid the cost and trouble of suing.


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