Do I have a case if a ran into a tree that was down in the road?

UPDATED: May 24, 2012

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Do I have a case if a ran into a tree that was down in the road?

I was driving home in the middle of the night on a road with no street lights. I ran into a tree that had fallen in to the road. It covered the entire road and by the time I saw it was I was unable to stop. This caused damage to my vehicle.

Asked on May 24, 2012 under Accident Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the property owner from whose property the tree fell had notice that the tree was in danger of falling--for example, it was visibly dead, dying, leaning badly, etc.--and did not take steps to reduce the risk, you may be able to sue the property owner.

If the municipality had notice that the street lights were out and, despite a reasonable time or opportunity to fix them, did not do so, and you can show that if the lights had been working, you most likely would have avoided the accident, you may have a claim against the municipality.

Therefore, there are potential claims, but they require showing that there was notice or knowledge of a hazard and an opportunity to correct it, but that despite that, the hazard was allowed to persist.

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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