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legal responsibility for fallen tree damage michigan

You would not have to have a prior evaluation in order to claim it as a known hazard because most reasonable people would be able to tell that this is a danger and act accordingly by having it removed. Some species are much more tolerant than others to pruning, and the size and amount that can be safely removed will vary greatly between them. The roots adjacent to side walk had been cut last year when side walk section was replaced due to buckling. I’ll get right down to it. We do not have zoning laws in our township, and the county seems to have no knowledge of any laws either. In the early morning of 18 December 2009, a passing train collided with the stem of an ash tree that had fallen onto the railway line from the garden of an adjacent property. At that size I even offered that I would cut down and remove. I live in no. which hang directly over my roof on both sides. Thanks for reading Michigan Gardener! I have spoken with the owner of the tree several times and he continues to say that I am responsible for the tree’s damages. In general, a person cannot be liable unless they could be charged with the responsibility to prevent the occurrence. A tree can only be judged a hazard if it has a target under it, such as a structure or object, or is in an area that a person could be present such as a sidewalk, road or playground. I have also read that this is accepted as law. The Duty of Care Owed by Tree Owners Both occupiers and anyone with responsibility for trees e.g. So now years later as predicted its tearing up my driveway. In the case of Shoemaker v. Harris, a tree located on Mr. Harris’ property fell ultimately landing on Mr. Shoemaker’s van. I planted trees 3′ off property line neighbor hit and killed 16 of them. Cleaning up the damage from a storm can be a difficult task, both physically and emotionally, and things can become especially tense when you discover that it's your neighbor's tree that damaged your house. He says we do. In this case the tree becomes joint property and both parties must agree to remove or prune the tree before any work is performed. Steve Turner is a Certified Arborist from Arboricultural Services in Oakland County, Michigan. I called her a few weeks ago and informed her again that now its doing damage not only to my driveway but hers as well. Am I responsible for a very tall dead tree that fell causing damage to the neighbors roof? I have a $500.00 deductible. Trees and other growth from a neighboring property can often cause damage and legal risk to a landowner/homeowner. Unfortunately, some of those fallen trees damage homes and other property. If the tree were to fall on or damage your property, you can claim it against their insurance and they would have to pay the deductible. Generally, property owners are only responsible for damage caused by dead trees located on their property. The legal line of property and anything vertically above that determines who is responsible for the tree. Before you can determine who is liable for damage caused by a falling tree or branch, you need to know who owns the tree. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via my website at www.lawrefs.com or directly via email. If you cut lower limbs back to the property line and the canopy above shades them, they will most likely die due to lack of sunlight. Required fields are marked *. It just happened again for the THIRD time. Remember our, tree example at the beginning. the tree is on city and or state property in that little courtesy patch that everyone has out front. Suggest that the neighbor present the claim to their insurance company and go from there. I cannot believe if you have gone to GC Hall that they wouldn’t make the owner fix this!!! One often-overlooked legal issue related to storms and property damage in Maryland, Virginia, and DC is potential legal liability related to tree damage, at risk trees, or fallen trees. Preston-We would recommend starting a dialog with the deaprtment of public services in for your municipality and more specifically the forestry department. Tree-Gate boils down to a legal duty of care. Michigan Tree Damage Laws In Michigan, if someone damages your tree, you can recover your actual damages (usually, what you paid for the tree or what it would cost to replace the tree). Sadly, a lot of people either don’t realise or ignore the fact that they have a legal responsibility to ensure that all trees within their property boundaries are safe and healthy, and will not fall on passers-by or damage other people’s property. This type of Michigan home insurance coverage is designed to address damage to other people’s property for which you are responsible. How much can I sue him for per tree? Shared treesA common situation is a tree or any portion of its base that is growing directly on a property line. If so, what is it? You cannot force them to remove it unless your city has some type of ordinance that would allow the city to order its removal. I always fear for the safety of my family with these trees hanging over my head., If I could move I would. Jenay – We looked and unfortunately, we don’t have a Q&A that directly addresses your problem. In that case, the owner of the … You may come home to find that your expectations have not been met. Thanks for reading! Tall grass is mainly just an eye sore, not really causing damage to anyone elses property, yet they refuse to enforce her to maintain her tree roots that ARE actually causing damage to MY PROPERTY?!? I asked why if I didn’t cut my lawn all summer long I would be given a citation? When I spoke with him he said he might check around to see if any friends need firewood but have not heard any other response. Getting access to the treeAnother issue becomes access. This is pretty simple, even in law - anything that one would call a tree is a ’tree’ (ref: Bullock v Secretary of State for the Environment, 1980). Florida Law Florida law puts the responsibility for fallen trees on the homeowner. Another issue becomes access. The legal reasoning behind this is that the overhanging branches are a ‘nuisance’ and a nuisance is an ‘unlawful interference with the use or enjoyment of your land’. Glad it was my shed, and just a couple holes on my greenhouse plastic. All they’ve told me is its her tree and between her and me to settle. As a homeowner, are you responsible for the damage caused by a tree on your property that hits your neighbor’s home or other insured structure, such as a garage or shed? They often can answer questions about tree health. The general rule is that unless the neighbor knew - or should have known - that his tree was unsafe - even if it caused damage to person or your property, he is not responsible. The second tree could fall on opposite corner or on our gazebo. This is true if the tree fell over due to an act of nature. You may not go onto the neighbor's property or destroy the tree. Fortunately, in Florida, the law regarding fallen trees and the resulting damage is fairly clear. I live in a mobile home community, and have 2 huge maple tree’s on both sides of my home. Unfortunately, some of those fallen trees damage homes and other property. I have a tree that that fall on my car and the person who owns the property will not pay for it and what’s to say its my job to show negligence I thought your tree your property your to take care if it I my be wrong in thinking that it property damage not ordinary negligence. Btw… I do cut and maintain my lawn ☺ Falling branches is a fairly common occurrence that is usually hard if not impossible to predict. Often the only above ground sign we have is the presence of the fruiting bodies of the fungus in the form of mushrooms around the base of the tree or on the roots. An example would be a dead or leaning tree with a large cavity and decay. Thanks for reading and best of luck. Do you need to enter the tree from the neighbor’s property or can you do the work from your side? Rising from the ashes: Choosing a replacement for your ash tree. If the tree dies or becomes a hazard, it is the joint responsibility of the owners to remove it and the cost is to be shared between them. The tree also damaged my car i only have liability insurance. ... To determine who’s legally responsible for personal injuries and property damage caused by a fallen tree, we must first determine where the tree is located. This extends to damages if a tree on your property falls and damages … I have spoke to management, they will do nothing. You might consider contacting an attorney that specializes in real estate and/or property rights. They can provide guidance on ordinances, etc. Even if the tree showed internal decay at the point of failure, without prior knowledge of this defect you would have to claim it on your own insurance and pay the deductible. We have a very old maple – probably more that 75 years old and about 7-8 feet in diameter that turns out to be at least a foot over the lot line. Every case is different. I bought my home and had a new driveway poured way before the tree was even planted there. I have found Garden City to be NO HELP AT ALL!!!! They should be able to help you. Property rights vary, state to state, so we suggest you contact an attorney that specializes in property rights if you cannot obtain permission from your neighbor. I would suggest that both parties agree on which limbs are to be removed ahead of time and not just leave an open-ended statement saying that any limb that has crossed the property line can be removed. WHAT???!!! Tree owners should be prepared to manage trees properly to reduce the risk of damage or harm, and any possibility of liability. I did cut some of the large branches off - none from the part that fell. Who owns a tree growing on a boundary? Fallen Tree Damage—Who Pays? I live in Michigan. Deed Restrictions hello i own a building and lease it out to a business. I thought perfect opportunity to ask her if she was willing to remove it. This can be presented to the owner and if they ignore their responsibility they can potentially be held liable when the tree fails because it is now a known hazard. What are the rules for this? What you can do is have the tree inspected by an arborist and if it is a hazard, the arborist can write a report that clearly states the tree’s defects and why it is hazardous. Thanks. Just an FYI, folks- MSU-Extension has forestry experts in some of its county offices and, if not, can refer you to the nearest one. My concern is that one of these trees will fall in our driveway and corner of garage. Best of luck! Could i hold the city responsible because the tree was rotten at the bottom? Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. I would suggest that both parties agree on which limbs are to be removed ahead of time and not just leave an open-ended statement saying that any limb that has crossed the property line can be removed. I’m sorry to hear about your situation. Mr. Shoemaker sued Mr. Harris claiming he was ultimately responsible for the damage caused by the falling tree. In general is your problem fixed and if so how did you get a resolution? Barbara- We are continually picking up dead branches and since we have already paid for 2 trees that fell into our property from a different neighbor, we do not want to experience that again. Do you need to enter the tree from the neighbor’s property or can you do the work from your side? One of the most common questions we receive on property line or easement related question is who is a responsible for trees on a property line. Another example is when my yard was flooding they not only told me I had to fix it myself, how to fix, and that I can’t cause flooding or damage to my neighbors yard but I would also have to get a permit to do so! Obviously she has not. Learn how your comment data is processed. It’s a husband and wife. When a tree on your property falls over during a storm, you are generally responsible for the damage. AT large oak tree fell on my car and a coworkers car which totaled both. However, the law only allows tree trimming and tree cutting up to the property line. You might check with your municipality to see if they are any codes in your area to address this (unlikely). What can I do? On the other hand, if you remove large limbs from medium or mature trees, it is unlikely that the tree will be able to replace them and the loss will be permanent. -Jonathon. This tree is not near my neighbor’s house so is of no consequence to his roof. I also live in Garden City, MI and I TOO have a rental next door. Coverage E has predetermined dollar limit stated within … I recently purchased the home and have only owned it for about 3 months. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Good luck. Also, the size of the limb is very important. Cleaning up the damage from a storm can be a difficult task, both physically and emotionally, and things can become especially tense when you discover that it’s your neighbor’s tree that damaged your house. To make matters worse, many … He also expects me to pay for half the tree removal. An exception to this, attorney Steve Goldman with The Goldman Firm said, is if the tree is visibly diseased or damaged. Frequently Asked Questions - legal principles. All rights reserved. You are therefore, technically exercising the self-help remedy of ‘abating a nuisance’ by cutting the offending branches off. Rural Tree Liability. Most shrubs and many smaller ornamental trees will tolerate heavy pruning without damage and would most likely be able to regrow back to their original form if left alone. Personal Liability coverage comes to the rescue offering to potentially help you handle legal costs and liability judgments resulting from a lawsuit. It’s one of those maple trees from whirlybirds. How close to the property line can a tree be planted? If leaves, acorns, twigs or other debris from a neighbor’s tree falls onto your property, you are responsible for cleaning this debris up. If the trunk of the tree is on your property, you do; and if the trunk of the tree on your neighbors’ property, they do, no matter how much of the canopy overhangs the property line. (repairable) but someday it may be my home. I wonder if it’s the same landlord. -Jonathon, i live in houghton lake my nieghbor has 27 trees ash trees that are dead or dying there is a discolored lok to some and some that are split to the top all this trees directly threaten my property and personal safty , i have talk with the land owner who said he would have them removed shook my hand and hasnt been back since i have many pics of these trees , to have already fell one hit my house and another fell on my car, am stage 4 lung cancer survior my township lake township has a ordiance but doesnt make anyone resposnabile to care for there land , since am on a very limited budget due to illness is there any one that can look at my trees for a small fee or for free , since this person is a wealthy person has the income to remove but fails to care for there land what would be my options , thanks in need of help ,, carl booth hought lake michigan lake township. or are they more likely to state that they’re not obligated to trim, cut, and remove anything? The lot recently sold, and the new owner does not like the tree. Our courts follow the old common law: it’s your property, so take care of it, unless you can prove your neighbor was negligent. What you can do is have the tree inspected by an arborist and if it is a hazard, the arborist can write a report that clearly states the tree’s defects and why it is hazardous. If you have ever wondered whose responsibility it is to handle a fallen tree should it fall, we can help with some of the basic information. I live in a rural area. We would recommend contacting an attorney that specializes in real estate or propery rights matters. Just because you cut some branches off does not mean you own the tree; and if there is a question about ownership, you should not be submissive. Of all of the trees that he could have chosen to dislike – and we have a great many that will drop leaves and cast shade on his lot, most of them are inconsequential to me, but this one is a very wonderful old tree. We live in Michigan next to large area of “wet lands”. Good luck and thanks for reading! In this case the tree becomes joint property and both parties must agree to remove or prune the tree before any work is performed. I enjoy turning deadfall into firewood and keeping my woods “clean”. An insurer generally sets a limit of $20 million for “legal liability” to pay damages arising from a claim for an accident that results in death, bodily injury, or damage to property of a third party not living with you. I’m not sure where you are located but property law varies from state to state. If the tree dies or becomes a hazard, it is the joint responsibility of the owners to remove it and the cost is to be shared between them. Property owners should regularly survey trees with the benefit of professional advice, to check whether they are causing damage, or likely to cause damage to surrounding property. She claimed she would come out to inspect and call me back. Sorry we couldn’t be of more assistance. If you do harm the tree, you could be found liable for up to three times the value of the tree. I can use the firewood, and if she gives me permission, I plan to clean up the limb. After the tree fell there were no roots attached to base at all and termite damage and fungus in hollow trunk was obvious. My neighbor has a very large “dirty” black walnut tree that’s growing very near our lot line. Am I responsible for a very tall dead tree that fell causing damage to the neighbors roof? As a homeowner, are you responsible for the damage caused by a tree on your property that hits your neighbor’s home or other insured structure, such as a garage or shed? Imagine the scenario where you own land and have a tree near the property line. The insurance company is usually responsible for taking care of the damages. Every year, storms are responsible for felling countless trees and limbs. I would suggest you check with an attorney with experience in property rights. Traditionally, property owners were not responsible for damage caused by falling tree limbs, toppled trees, and other natural occurrences on … For a tree to be considered a known hazard it must evaluated by a qualified individual or be obvious to a reasonable person that the tree has a high chance of failure before it fails. That being said, homeowners who do their own tree removal are responsible for their workmanship and any damage that may occur due to lack of experience or negligence. Before it fell the neighbor would pick up the small branches and pile them next to the tree. Thanks for reading Michigan Gardener. -Jonathon, Your email address will not be published. Many tree care companies will not work on neighbor’s trees without written permission from the owner. He asked us to remove the tree for the first time before he purchased the lot, and we told him that we would work with anyone who bought the lot to trim the tree in a responsible way. When trees are close to your property line, then the law determines the owner by looking at the trunk of the tree. As is the law, it depends. You might consider contacting a real estate attorney who can advise you on your options. Thanks for reading! Often I am asked about legal issues and trees, such as “I want to remove several branches off my neighbor’s tree that are encroaching my property.” Many people are under the impression that it is all right to remove anything that is growing over their property. My tree issue is their tree’s roots are lifting the slabs of my driveway and will eventually cause it to crack and break. This case involved a review of landowners’ liability for damage caused by trees falling on (or from) their land. Our driveways are actually next to each other and when the tenant moved out years ago the landlords had to bring the house up to code before renting again. But she just said “oh, I really hate to lose a tree” and she refused. That would be considered an act of nature. It was my tree, but is it now her limb once it became separated from the tree? I spoke to the owner couple months ago about 2 dead trees on his property line but within inches of our property. I paid it twice in the past but I am JUST LIVID that it has happened again. Best of luck. In planned communities, the question of responsibility for damage caused by fallen trees is often posed to the owners association. A tree in the back forty with no targets and little chance of people being present could not be deemed a hazard no matter what shape it is in or how dead it is. It was getting big but not out of control. Click cover to read now! Would you happen to know if I can have the portion of the branch that overhangs my roof trimmed backed? There is likely not a black and white answer to your question. I would consult with an attorney that specializes in property/real estate law. They seem to pick and choose what they want to be involoved in. IS THIS MY RESPONSIBILITY?? For example, a healthy tree that falls over during a tornado, hurricane, wind storm or winter storm would not be the responsibility of the homeowner. Best of luck. As an arborist I am always looking for hazard trees and the signs of structural defects whenever I do an estimate because I can potentially be held liable if I visit a property and fail to recognize a hazard and it ends up causing damage in the future. Therefore, if your neighbor’s tree drops a branch and causes injury to a vehicle, person, or structure, they are liable to you for the damages caused. As you might note when you begin your research in this area, much of the law concerning one’s responsibility for trees can be found at the state and local levels. The tree sits on the fence line but it's unclear who owns the tree. I have several posts on the internet that state where a tree stump comes out of the ground is whose property it is on. I recently purchased the home and have only owned it for about 3 months. They are not attorneys and can’t tell you about the law, but if you are questioning if the tree is in need of removal or not due to disease, do look them up. The answer to this question lies in who owns the tree, and whose land it has fallen onto. We have this stupid law where my homeowners insurance has to cover it. Before it fell the neighbor would pick up the small branches and pile them next to the tree. You would have to contact an attorney versed in real estate and property disputes for a proper answer. The house next door is a rental with the same tenants since I bought the house. The tree was rotten at the bottom of the tree for many years and it set between the side walk and the street. These are just a few common examples and brief summaries of how the law applies to trees. The other question I was wondering even tho your post is from 2012 is were you ever able to get the city involved to make your neighbor fix or remove his tree? Neighboring landowners have legal rights regarding adjacent trees and tree … The owner of the tree may be responsible for damage caused to a neighbor’s property but only if it can be found that the tree’s owner failed to properly maintain the tree. Nevertheless, you do have the right to remove any deadwood or hazardous limbs, regardless of size or effect on the tree. In this case the tree becomes joint property and both parties must agree to remove or prune the tree before any work is performed. Or am I still responsible for getting it out of there? My neighbor has one very close, but the trunk is on his side. I would consult with an attorney for an accurate answer. Well, I hope to hear back from you and hope you were able to fix your garage at HIS cost. The problem is that in the autumn when the walnuts fall to the ground, the ones that fall from the massive branch overhanging my house are constantly hitting my roof. These are 60 year+ maples that were never properly maintained, and brittle. Another 10″ dia, give or take, I felt it hit the ground. But, we hope that is not need and your conversation goes smoothly. I can’t tell, based on the lot markers whether the sections are entirely on his property (because it is difficult to extend the line from the markers around the tree and several others that are between them) I am concerned that this will damage the health of the rest of the tree and end up costing us thousands of dollars for removal, to say nothing of the loss of the tree itself! I’m at my wits end and tired of being nervous about this issue during severe weather. Fallen tree dispute. It grew really fast! State law provides that the owner of a tree whose branches overhang an adjoining landowner’s property is liable for damages caused by the overhanging branches. ), For an exact answer you’ll need to consult with an attorney specializing in property/real estate matters. Did you have to take to court or anything? My name is Debbie. I have mentioned multiple times to the managers about the potential threat these trees are. What is a ‘tree’? In most cases this is correct, but there is a stipulation that says you have the right to remove those limbs as long as it does not cause “irreparable harm to the tree.”. In that little courtesy patch that everyone has out front reduce risks Shoemaker sued mr. Harris he! I sue him for per tree set between the side walk section was replaced due an. 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