If my neighbor’s live tree fell into my yard during a storm and destroyed my fence, who is responsible for the danages?

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If my neighbor’s live tree fell into my yard during a storm and destroyed my fence, who is responsible for the danages?

There was a bad storm and my neighbors tree was pulled from its root. It fell over my fence. This was an act of God, however this is a relatively large tree. Half of the tree is my yard, the other part is in neighbor’s yard. Who is responsible for the cost of my destroyed fence and tree removal?

Asked on June 11, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Was there reason to know that the tree posed some threat? That is, was it visibly dead, dying, or sick? Had limbs fallen from it? Was the tree leaving in a way that suggested that it was unstable? If there was some reason to know that the tree was ailing or likely to fall in storm, etc., then you neighbor would likely be liable (though you still might have to sue to get them to pay, if they won't pay voluntarily), since in this case, they would have been negligent, or unreasonably careless. On the other hand, if there was no reason to be concerned about the tree, there's no reason your neighbors should necessarily have taken action; that is, in this case, they would seem to have done nothing wrong, and probably would not be liable for the damage.


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