What to do if a neighbor claims a pine tree on my property has damaged their driveway?

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What to do if a neighbor claims a pine tree on my property has damaged their driveway?

A neighbor claims a pine tree on my property has damaged her driveway and she is concerned that it may damage her house foundation. She sent me pictures of the damage. I live out of state and don’t often get to see my vacant lot. However based on the pictures I do not think the damage is caused by the pine tree. Pine trees generally have tap roots in the area and the damage is 8 or more feet away from the tree. The damaged area looks to be a poorly construction add-on to her original driveway. Am I responsible for the damage if it was caused by my tree? Should I respond to her letter with my opinion.

Asked on July 23, 2011 North Carolina

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you have insurance for your property being complained about by the neighbor, contact your insurance adjuster about the complaint and see if anything about it can be done.

I would respond to the neighbor in writing asking for more information about the situation and the complaint. If you actually planted the tree, potentially you could be responsible for the claimed damages by it under the laws of your State. However, if the tree grew on its own without anyone's planting, then most likely you have no responsibility for the claimed damages by the neighbor.

Finally, you neighbor has a big proof problem showing that your tree caused the problems she is complaining about if there are other trees on her property that also could have caused the claimed damages.


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