At what point does my neighbor become liable?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 23, 2012

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Insurance Question from Cockrell Hill, TX

Asked on 07/23/2012

At what point does my neighbor become liable? Limb from neighbors tree fell at hit my car. Both of our insurance companies looked at it decided it was "act of nature". I'm stuck claiming it on my insurance. This is the third limb that has fallen this year (first insurance claim). My neighbor refuses to do anything about the tree. The tree is obviously sick and sooner or later another limb is going to fall. At what point is my neighbor being negligent or become liable for damages to my home?

Answer given on July 24, 2012

If a limb falls on your property, in this case your car, and the insurance companies agree it was an act of nature, then your only choice is to claim it under your comprehensive coverage of your auto insurance.If there are continued issues with the tree, you should write a letter to your neighbor expressing your concern for the condition of the tree and the need to trim it or take it down. Since you probably know the insurance company the neighbor has for his homeowner insurance you should send them a copy of the letter. You may also want to send a copy to the town and your insurance company. If another limb comes down, then you have evidence that you have asked the neighbor to take action and that the neighbor is aware of the danger the tree presents. You lcan then file a claim against him and his insurance company. If the insurance company denies coverage, you should file a suit in court, you will most likely win with the history and evidence yoiu will have available.


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