What is my neighbor’s liability iftheir tree fell onto my cars and scratched them?

We had a storm the other night and a large limb fell on my 2 cars scratching them a lot. His only answer is to claim it on our auto insurance and he will help with the deductible. He says he is not responsible for the damage. I disagree. Can I take him to claims court and do I have a chance to win, and for how much?

Asked on October 24, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is unlikely that your neighbor will be held liable because the storm is an act of God which will relieve your neighbor of liability.  In a lawsuit for negligence against your neighbor, one of the elements you would need to prove is proximate cause.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable, intervening acts which would relieve your neighbor of liability?  If the answer is no, proximate cause has been established.   In this case, the answer is yes; the storm causing the tree limb to fall and scratch your cars was an unforeseeable, intervening act which would relieve the neighbor of liability.

It would be advisable to file the claim for the damage to your cars with your insurance company.

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