Am I liable for damage caused to a neighbor’s vehicle by my fallen tree branch?

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Am I liable for damage caused to a neighbor’s vehicle by my fallen tree branch?

An old oak tree branch randomly fell into a neighbor’s driveway, damaging a friend’s vehicle. I’ve filed claim and paid tree service already. My insurance company seems to think act of God but a few pictures and those present seen some decay on the tree. I want lady to have car fixed but in no way can I afford to based on her estimates.

Asked on December 28, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You are liable IF you were at fault: if you were aware of an enhanced risk beyond that normal to any/all branches (e.g that the branch or tree was visibly sick, dead, or dying) but failed to take steps to mitigate (reduce) that risk despite knowledge of it. So only if you were at fault might your insurance pay for this claim. The lady/your friend should probably have had comprehensive insurance on her car, to make sure repairs would be paid for even when no one was at fault.


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