Am I responsible for damage to a neighbor’s propery as the result of a tree falling if it was in a utility easement?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Am I responsible for damage to a neighbor’s propery as the result of a tree falling if it was in a utility easement?

A tree located in a utility easement fell and damaged the neighbor’s fence. I have already paid several hundred dollars to have the tree cut and removed from neighbor’s property. Am I obligated to pay for all damage to the neighbor’s property as a result of the tree falling?

Asked on July 27, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You are only responsible if you were at fault. You would only be at fault if you knew or had some reason to know that the tree posed a particular falling hazard (e.g. it was visibily damaged, sick, dying, dead, or leaning) but despite such reason to know there was a threat, failed to take reasonable action (e.g. having it trimmed or even cut down) to prevent the harm. If you there was no reason to know of a threat--e.g. it looked like a normal, healthy tree--you did nothing wrong, were not at fault, and would not be liable.

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 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.

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