who is responsible for damage to my property from a tree limb from a tree on an easement next to my property?

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who is responsible for damage to my property from a tree limb from a tree on an easement next to my property?

On 3/24/18 during a snow/ice storm, a large limb snapped off a tree growing in the easement between properties and crushed my fence and is laying in the backyard. Who is responsible for the damage to my property and removal of the tree?

Asked on March 25, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The owner of the property (the fact that there is an easement gives others access: it does not otherwise affect ownership) is responsible IF he or she had reason to know that limb posed a greater-than-normal threat, but despite knowing  of that threat, negligently or carelessly failed to take action (such as trimming the limb). The key is, there must have been some reason to think that the limb that fell posed more threat than the typical tree limb: e.g. it was visibly damaged, sick, dying, dead, etc. If it posed a heightened threat, it was negligent to not cut or trim it; that negligence would make the property owner liable. But if there was no reason to perceive a heightened threat, there was no reason to take action and the property owner was *not* liable.


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