What is the land owner liable for?

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What is the land owner liable for?

A land owner hired an excavationist to bulldoze a drive way and building site on his heavily wooded acreage lot. The excavationist mistakenly bulldozed a 600 ft X 40 ft path on a neighboring lot or wooded acreage. Approximately 20 large trees are removed. The land owner did not sign any type of work-order or written agreement with the excavationist, and has not yet paid for the work.Who is liable for damages and what should the land owner do to prevent litigation by the neighboring land owner.

Asked on June 23, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I think the land owner needs to run, not walk, to his or her attorney, to get reliable advice based on all of the facts of this situation.  One place to find a qualified lawyer is our website, http://attorneypages.com

Who is liable, between the land owner and the excavationist?  That's very difficult to answer, at this point.  The lack of any written agreement might not matter at all, since nobody will believe that anyone in their right mind took a bulldozer to 20 trees just for the fun of it;  it might make life more difficult for the landowner, in fact, because the excavationist will claim he did exactly what the landowner told him to do, exactly where he was told to do it.


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