Who is liable for damages if a tree, or portion of same, falls across property lines causing property damages or personal injury?

The tree is possibly dead or dying due to age and recent “natural” environmental stress, (there has been a significant number of coniferous trees dying in the midwest recently).

Asked on December 2, 2011 under Personal Injury, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The issue is one of fault, which is based in cases like this typically based on negligence, or unreasonable carelessness. While someone is not at fault, generally, if a perfectly healthy tree falls (e.g. due to abnormally high winds), if someone knows (or reasonably should know) that his or her tree is "possibly dead or dying due to age and recent 'natural' environmental stress" and does nothing (i.e. does not cut down the tree, or at least cut back large dead branches), then he or she would be negligent, or unreasonably careless, and would most likely be liable for any injury or damages.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.