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Legal question: Someone elses tree falls onto your property


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#1 Dan From NJ

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Posted January 28 2010 - 3:39 PM

My property borders township land. A BIG tree fell onto my property and crushed a piece of fence. is laying in my yard. See picture. The near edge of the tree is about 4 in on town property. The first layer of burocracy showed up today and said its like if your neighbors tree fell on your property once its on your property its yours. That seems odd to me because I am prett sure if one of my trees fell on my neighbors car next door the claim would be going into my home owners insurance not his and I would be out there with a chainsaw cleaning it up.

What really is the law here is the owner of the property the tree is on responsible for damage and cleanup of the tree if it falls? Or am I crazy? If there is a legal case or statute that coverns this that I can reference that would be helpful as well.

Thanks in advance to any lawyers willing to chime in and give their opinion.

This is the second one of theirs that fell in the last 6 month. First one I took care of because it was a lot smaller. This one is massive.


#2 speedracer

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Posted January 28 2010 - 3:48 PM

This happened to me a few times. The part of the tree that fell naturally on your property is yours. If someone caused the tree to fall then thats a different story.
You're getting sleepy. ....very sleepy.....

#3 foxfai

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Posted January 28 2010 - 3:49 PM


Quote:








Originally Posted by speedracer
View Post

This happened to me a few times. The part of the tree that fell naturally on your property is yours.





Wow, really? That's going to suck.....

#4 DJ Jaws

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Posted January 28 2010 - 3:49 PM

It may be a case where you are stuck with the tree itself, but they should be liable for the damage to the fence. Call your homeowner's ins. co first before you call a lawyer. There may be an amicable solution.

Pricey doesn't mean better, but cheap is to the bone!


#5 DJ Jaws

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Posted January 28 2010 - 3:50 PM

Free firewood!

Pricey doesn't mean better, but cheap is to the bone!


#6 Dan From NJ

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Posted January 28 2010 - 3:51 PM

Something else to add after I did a little googling around the internet.

"landowner should be held to the duty of common prudence in maintaining his property, including trees, in such a way as to prevent injury to his neighbor's property."

This tree has been hollow at the base for at least the last 5 years. Huge tree like this with a hollow base. I would think is crosses the line into negligence.

#7 BranfordJeff

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Posted January 28 2010 - 3:53 PM

Free firewood, delivered.

#8 Dan From NJ

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Posted January 28 2010 - 3:54 PM

Thats a good point. I think its probably oak. There is no leaves on it so its hard to tell but anyone interest in free firewood. You come cut as much as you want its yours.

#9 Kings over Queens

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Posted January 28 2010 - 3:55 PM

Dibs!

#10 dogboy

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Posted January 28 2010 - 3:57 PM

unless the tree has been declared a hazard, it is between you and your insurance company

hurricane gloria blew a huge silver maple in my yard onto my neighbor's lawn, brushing and slithly damaging his gutter/drip edge

so i called my insurance company, and that was the deal- i was not responsible for even cleaning it up (although i did)

#11 makorider

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Posted January 28 2010 - 3:59 PM

^^
Unless you've given prior notice that the tree is a hazzard, you're **** out of luck.

Trust me, found out the hard way this summer when a cell dropped 7 trees from the property next to us in and around my yard. One of which crushed my kid's two month old playset

#12 PaulS

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Posted January 28 2010 - 3:59 PM


Quote:








Originally Posted by Dan From NJ
View Post

Something else to add after I did a little googling around the internet.

"landowner should be held to the duty of common prudence in maintaining his property, including trees, in such a way as to prevent injury to his neighbor's property."

This tree has been hollow at the base for at least the last 5 years. Huge tree like this with a hollow base. I would think is crosses the line into negligence.





I think it depends on if the owner of the tree knew about the hollow base. If they were aware of it but didn't do anything, then you may have a case. If they weren't aware of the hollow part, how could they have acted prudently?

Good luck.

#13 titleguy

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Posted January 28 2010 - 3:59 PM


Quote:








Originally Posted by Dan From NJ
View Post

Something else to add after I did a little googling around the internet.

"landowner should be held to the duty of common prudence in maintaining his property, including trees, in such a way as to prevent injury to his neighbor's property."

This tree has been hollow at the base for at least the last 5 years. Huge tree like this with a hollow base. I would think is crosses the line into negligence.





Good luck with that argument- the duty of common prudence is going to be tempered by the use to which the property is put- looks like undeveloped land to me. To coin a phrase, it would not be "reasonable" to require the town to inspect every tree that borders someone else's property. However, if you informed the town of the tree's condition, different story. If you were aware of the tree's condition and did not inform the town then you are contributorily negligent. I am unaware if NJ is a pure contributory or comparative/contributory jurisdiction. Finally, I would imagine to cut up that maple tree and fix the fence will barely eat up your deductible on your homeowner's anyway.

Uva, Uvam, vivendo varia fit....  Augustus McCrae.


#14 GaryK

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Posted January 28 2010 - 4:00 PM

clearly an act of god

#15 Kings over Queens

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Posted January 28 2010 - 4:01 PM

I can't see the photo.

Is the tree touching any part of the house or garage or blocking a sidewalk or driveway?


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