The answer: It depends. If you were unaware of the tree’s condition then you are not liable for the damages to your neighbor’s property. This is according to the precedent set by McCrann v. Town Planning & Zoning Commission, 161 Conn. 65 (1971). But, you aren't legally responsible for that debris in the yard next door. The same is true in reverse: If a tree on your property falls in your neighbor’s yard, your neighbor should contact his or her insurance company to determine what type of coverage is available for damage or cleanup in their yard. My Neighbor’s Tree Fell on My Car. There’s a statute which “imposes liability for cutting a tree on another person’s land without permission,” and makes the cutter responsible for up to five times the tree’s “reasonable value.”. April 3, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. UTC. Per Connecticut law (C.G.S. on And, once the storm passes, you may be wondering whether your homeowners insurance will help pay for the cost of removing the branches or repairing damage if the tree fell on your home.. Who Covers Damages Caused By a … So long as the tree trunk is wholly in the neighbor's yard, it belongs to the neighbor. It was updated in 2019 with additional information. ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York). (Dreamstime) By Ilyce Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin. If you’re not sure if a tree on your property poses an “unreasonable risk” to a neighbor’s, it’s best to get expert tree consulting services like those offered by Watson Treeworks. Sunday: CLOSED. Namely the question, “Am I responsible if a tree falls from my property onto my neighbor’s?”. No damage to their property has occurred. Then call your insurance agent, who can explain your options and help you understand if and how to file a claim. (The Tree Care Industry Association lists accredited tree care professionals.). When negligence is not a factor, Connecticut law states that whosever property a tree falls on is responsible. If a tree falls on your house, the first thing to do, if it’s safe, is to try to prevent further damage to your home and property. If you have a legal issue pertaining to issues mentioned in this article, consult a lawyer immediately. Picture this nightmare scenario. Need a tree trimmed or removed before it falls? Now what? Not sure if a tree is in danger of falling on yours or a neighbor’s property? The specifics of every case are different though, it these things often come down to one person’s word against another. If your neighbor's tree falls on your home, your insurance will probably cover the damage. Who is responsible for the damage, you or your neighbor? If the invading roots or branches cause serious harm to the neighbor's property or threaten to do so, the neighbor may sue. See what separates us from the competition with a personalized home insurance quote. If a tree falls into your neighbor’s yard, typically your insurance company will get involved, if it fell over due to an act of nature. § 52-560) any willful cutting of another’s tree (even one on public land) subjects the offender to liability for three times the reasonable value of the tree. Start by looking for signs of distress such as dead limbs, cracks in the trunk or major limbs, leaning to one side and branches that are close to a house or power line. In the case of a "boundary tree," all of the property owners own the tree and share responsibility for it. When a tree falls over onto a neighbor's property, that neighbor should submit a claim to his or her insurance company immediately. With high winds and falling trees reported across the state this week, there’s bound to be some pretty significant storm cleanup going on in Connecticut in the following days. If the tree is on the property line, both property owners share the value of the tree and are responsible for upkeep on their side of the boundary line. Learn more about homeowners insurance from ERIE or find an Erie Insurance agent in your community. Causation means that the neighbor's breach of duty was responsible for the tree falling onto your property, and that it was foreseeable to a reasonable person in your neighbor's position that the tree would fall down if steps were not taken to prevent it from falling. It’s recommended that you call your claims adjuster before you contract to have the tree removed. …if you know that a tree is dangerous and needs maintenance, or have been notified by a neighbor, you might be considered negligent and liable for injuries. In most states, if your tree or any part of it falls on your neighbors’ property and causes damage to their property through no fault of your own (due to a snow storm, winds, hurricane, or another so-called “act of God”), you are not responsible. Erie Insurance If cut through a mistaken belief that the tree was growing on one’s own land then liability is for the tree’s reasonable value only. If so, you can lop off the offending limbs as long as you go no farther than the property line. Good news: Homeowners insurance from ERIE typically pays for the cost (subject to sublimits) of removal of fallen trees if it’s due to a covered peril, such as a storm. In that situation, you may be wondering what to do about the damage to … (Have you noticed how often lawyers answer questions that way?) However, you may want to be careful in so doing. Address Trees Damaged by a Hurricane in Connecticut? Make a claim through your insurer for tree damages to your property, even if the tree was rooted in your neighbor’s yard. Mushroom growth on the roots or bark can also signal trouble. It fell on my neighbor’s fence, barely missing their house. During a severe “downburst” storm last fall, another large, healthy tree in my back yard was literally snapped like a twig at a point about six feet above ground, where the trunk was about fourteen inches in diameter. Sometimes trees fall on cars. You hear a sudden crack. An exception to this, attorney Steve Goldman with The Goldman Firm said, is … This is true if the tree fell over due to an act of nature. If, as a result of your own negligence while performing construction on your property you knock over your own tree, you will likely be held liable for the damage to your neighbor's property. According to common law in Connecticut, it’s your legal responsibility to make sure that the trees on your property don’t pose an “unreasonable danger” to others. https://www.erieinsurance.com/-/media/images/erieinsurance/erieinsurancelogo.png, Enter a valid address, city, state or Zip, Learn more about homeowners insurance from ERIE. 06067, Contact So if a storm causes your neighbor’s tree to fall in your yard, your homeowners insurance could help cover the cost of removing the tree and remedying the damage it caused on your property, after your deductible. Complete the form below to request your Homeowners quote from a local ERIE agent. When you file a claim, a claims adjuster will come by to evaluate the damage and explain how your homeowners coverage comes into play. This is a personal account of what one might do when a large piece of a tree falls into a neighbor’s backyard. Your neighbor could be liable if they made a conscious choice to change something on their property that made it more likely for the tree to fall. The same is true in reverse: If a tree on your property falls in your neighbor’s yard, your neighbor should contact his or her insurance company to determine what type of coverage is available for damage or cleanup in their yard. I've had five foot branches fall off my health tree into my neighbor's yard due to bad weather. If your neighbor’s tree has fallen on your property, it is you who is responsible for the damage incurred. This story was originally published in 2014. The insurance company is usually responsible for taking care of the damages. If the trunk of a tree is located in your neighbor’s yard, but branches extend onto your property, the neighbor is the legal owner of the tree. The usual means for notifying the tree’s owner, according to this view, is for the second neighbor, the one who has the concern that the tree is about to fall, to hire an arborist to determine that the tree is likely to be a problem and then let the first neighbor, the tree’s owner, know that there is the potential for a problem. The Town came and cut down half the tree to clear out the road. But there are a number of scenarios where you, the homeowner, could be held liable, like if you knew the tree was dying and didn’t do anything about it before it fell over. That means if you have a tree on your property that’s unhealthy, rotting, or generally unsafe, and is close enough to a neighbor that it puts them or their property at risk, you’re liable if anything goes wrong. Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time. Hopefully, this is a question you’ll never have to ask. by When a dead tree falls on your property, you likely will clean it up and deal with any damage on your own. Greene & Associates Insurance 1.800.252.6885 My neighbors tree fell on my house. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. A lot of people call us and say, hey, this tree fell from my neighbors house into our yard, and I want you to give us an estimate and we’ll give it to them. Tree disputes can take many forms, such as trees that fall on a neighbor's property and cause damage or circumstances where a neighbor's tree blocks what would be a scenic or otherwise pleasant view. What Happens If Your Neighbor's Tree Falls and Injures a Third Party? Preventive measures matter when it comes to trees. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to file a homeowners insurance claim. Saturday: CLOSED You can't march into your neighbor's yard and cut down a tree that isn't yours. Can they just throw all the branches over the fence into my back yard? If it’s not safe or possible to remove the tree from the car yourself, you should call a professional to remove it. Does a neighbor’s tree hang over the property line onto your land? But, what if it is not your tree? Often, a tree on your property will crash into your neighbor's property as a result of building or construction on your property. Who pays? If there’s ever an issue between neighbors, you can rely on your claims adjuster to help straighten everything out. I would just like to know my rights and responsibilities. Under Connecticut case law, if a tree is growing on one person's land but its branches or roots encroach on a neighbor's land, the neighbor can cut off the branches or roots up to the line of his or her land (see McCrann v. Town Planning & Zoning Commission, 161 Conn. 65 (1971)). For instance, if an otherwise healthy tree is knocked down by a natural disaster such as a hurricane, you likely won’t be liable for any damage it causes, since there was no negligence on your part. What if, instead, it is your neighbor’s tree that fell? Get in touch for a consultation. Trees can be tricky, but for the most part homeowners are responsible for what falls into their own yard. Call during regular business hours to set up an appointment. Perhaps he or she did not take care of it. That's right, even if the tree is rooted in your neighbor's yard, if it crashes onto your property, it's your problem. For Emergencies we can be reached anytime at (530) 414-3513. Updated: September 2019. However, that is not necessarily true. Sometimes it takes just one good storm to topple what was once a sturdy tree in your yard. It’s possible for you to be held responsible for resulting damage to your neighbor’s house or property, if your tree falls due (in whole or part) to your own neglect. ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York. I've tried to be a good neighbor, but they have not been due to many other reasons. (Again, talk to your insurance agent and a claims adjuster first and take a few photos of the fallen tree on your car.) Depending on the damage and terms of your insurance coverage, the optional comprehensive coverage you may have under your auto policy could provide coverage for the loss. If a neighbor’s tree falls on your car, they may be at fault. The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Complete the from below to find a local ERIE agent and get started. It’s 1:00 AM. Watson Treeworks in Rocky Hill provides tree consulting, trimming, removal, cabling and bracing, and other tree services across the state. The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states. My neighbors tree fell down in my yard during a wind storm. company licensure and states of operation information. And with tree damage in the news and plenty of winter weather still ahead before spring, now is a good time to clear up what might be a confusing topic for many Nutmeggers. If a neighbor’s tree falls in your yard, you might expect that the neighbor is responsible. Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. CT Tree Laws: You Might Be Liable if Your Tree Falls On a Neighbor’s Property, tree consulting services like those offered by Watson Treeworks, Tree Care Through the Fall in New England. Weekend appointments are available. Homeowners should be concerned about the health of their trees. Sunday: CLOSED. If you have a legal issue pertaining to issues mentioned in this article, consult a lawyer immediately. This is today’s question: My neighbor’s tree fell into my yard and damaged my car. Before getting upset, remember that it is very likely that your insurance will cover any damages and the cost of removal as well. A windy storm blows through and your neighbor’s tree falls into your yard. If the tree encroaches onto the neighbor's property, the neighbor may sue to make the owner cut the branches, even if no damage has been done. Richard Hastings , Neighbor Posted Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 5:50 p m ET | Updated Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 5:34 a m ET We Can Help You with That! When leaves fall from your tree and create debris in the yard next door, your neighbor might find it annoying. Mon-Fri: 8:00-4:00 But with extreme weather becoming more and more the norm in the Northeast and across the country, it’s always better to be prepared. Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy. You are responsible for what falls into your own yard (whether you like it or not). Saturday: CLOSED The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of November 2019 and may be changed at any time. There are some things to consider if you have a problem with a tree on a shared property line: November 5, 2019. One of the best things to do is to regularly have large trees trimmed. Available for Emergency Service 24 Hours a Day! Learn who is on the line when a tree falls in a neighbor's yard. For a more professional account, you can read this article about fallen tree removal. CT Tree Laws: You Might Be Liable if Your Tree Falls On a Neighbor’s... INFOGRAPHIC: Why Tree Trimming & Removal Are Essential for Homeowners. If a healthy tree falls into a person’s yard, but doesn’t cause damage, Zlimen says you could argue the homeowner where the tree fell is responsible for removal. Under Connecticut case law, if a tree is growing on one person’s land but its branches or roots encroach on a neighbor’s land, the neighbor can cut off the branches or roots up to the line of his or her land (see McCrann v. Town Planning & Zoning Commission, 161 Conn. 65 (1971)). 3 Laurel Rd. Mon-Fri: 8:00-4:00 See what separates us from the competition with a personalized home insurance quote. However, if you can demonstrate that the damage to your neighbor’s property was caused by an “act of god,” you may be able to avoid liability. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA, and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Your homeowners insurance may or may not cover the cost of tree cleanup, depending on your policy and the company you work with. CT Tree Laws: You Might Be Liable if Your Tree Falls On a Neighbor’s Property This article is meant for informational and entertainment purposes ONLY, and should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice. 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