Who is responsible for a tree limb falling from my yard and damaging my neighbor’s car?

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Who is responsible for a tree limb falling from my yard and damaging my neighbor’s car?

A few weeks ago there was a strong winded thunder storm that knocked a tree limb hanging over my house onto my neighbor’s property. The limb put a ding on the trunk of my neighbors car. My insurance company says that type of damage is not covered. My neighbor is very adamant that it’s my responsibility to pay for the damages. I really need to find what KS law says on this.

Asked on August 8, 2011 Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You would be responsible if you were negligent, or unreasonably careless. That means that if there was reason to think that the branch posed a threat, such as--

* the tree was obviously diseased or dying

* if the limb appeared too be dead or injured/damaged

* if the limb was too long, so it was unlikely to keep supporting itself, and/or was visibly drooping

* large branches had already fallen from that tree

* etc.

--then you should have taken some action, such as prunning it back, because that's what's expected of the average reasonable person (to addresss threats or risks). On the other hand, if there was no reason to think the brach posed any sort of risk and it really was just an "act of god," so to speak, then you would most likely not be liable, or financially responsible.


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