What to do about a tree that was damaged during the construction of a home?

UPDATED: Mar 25, 2013

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What to do about a tree that was damaged during the construction of a home?

I had a vacation home built completed several months ago; it required a sophisticated septic system. The builder chose site selection of the lateral lines and of course which trees would need to be removed for this purpose. I have now noticed a 100 foot tree that is now dead as a result of the install. Will be expensive to remove. It should have been taken down with the other trees when they were clearing the land for the septic. Believe they tore trough roots. Bottom line is that this tree will threaten the house if it ever falls. Is not the builder obligated to take this tree down?

Asked on March 25, 2013 under Real Estate Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

They builder would likely be obligated to take  the tree down (to pay for it) IF you can show that it was killed as a result of his deliberate or negligent (unreasonably careless) actions. To do that would, if he refuses to pay voluntarily, almost certainly require hiring a tree expert to examine the tree and testify in court as to the cause of its death. Since you generally cannot recover expert witness fees, it might end up costiing you as much or more to sue than you could recover in the lawsuit if you won.

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