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  #1  
Old 04-19-2007, 05:59 PM
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Public Tree Crushes Mercedes

A tree just crushed my beautiful car! It is publically owned and maintained by the city. It seems that they should pay for the damages. I only had liability because it was so old but if the city had done thier job i would still have my car. Any helpful input about what route to take?

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  #2  
Old 04-19-2007, 06:09 PM
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I know only that when a 200 year old oak tree fell through my house from the neighbor's backyard, my insurance agent clearly said that I had no claim against my neighbor. It is classified as an "Act of God" or some such terminology. My insurance covered the damage.

Good luck getting the city to pay you.

Steve
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Old 04-19-2007, 06:12 PM
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In the UK, whoever owns the land is liable for the tree, insurance or not

I wish you the best of luck. I'm sure it'll work out in the end. One piece of universal advice I can offer is never, ever to accept the first offer they make.
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Old 04-19-2007, 06:12 PM
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Call An Attorney

Call a local Attorney. While most won't want to get involved with a small property claim if you can find that the owner of the tree was negligent in maintaining it you can collect damages against them. If the tree was dead or diseased for a good deal of time and was neglected you might have a case but of course it all depends on the laws of your area so calling your local Attorney might be your best bet.
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Old 04-20-2007, 09:23 AM
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I'm not an attorney. I believe this will be treated like pothole damage to a car. Unless you can prove that the city knew of the dangerous limb on their tree for at least a month before the incident, they will not take responsibility for the incident.
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Old 04-20-2007, 09:40 AM
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It does seem unfair, but that's my understanding, too. I recently cut down some tress I was afraid might fall on my neighbor's house. If they had done so, I would not have been liable for the damage. I try to be a good neighbor, though. I would have felt bad about it.

The city probably does not really care about your car. Sorry to hear about your situation, though. What city are you in? Some city can barely take care of themselves, let alone be responsible for their own negligence.
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Old 04-20-2007, 11:11 AM
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that should fall under the comprehensive coverage of your car.

good luck.
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  #8  
Old 04-20-2007, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestas View Post
I'm not an attorney. I believe this will be treated like pothole damage to a car. Unless you can prove that the city knew of the dangerous limb on their tree for at least a month before the incident, they will not take responsibility for the incident.
Trees don't fall down on their own unless they have been dead for a long time. The city or power company regularly cuts limbs to keep them out of power lines and is responsible for making sure the street is passable and safe. The city of course will try the age old lie and deny routine just like most companies will. Thats why an attorney needs to be involved with this as they can subpoena records take depositions and prove that the tree was ignored out of neglect. What if someone had been IN your car when the tree had fallen? What if there had been children playing in the street when the tree fell? Do you think the city would not be liable then? Governments and corporations are experts at denying liability. Just because its your "old car" does not mean that it is any less important and that they are any less liable for your damages. You probably will have to pay out of pocket for the Attorney but you can recover attorneys fees if you win.

Speaking of potholes I have been able to recover damages on my personal cars for pothole damage. In business school somewhere they must teach a class on how to lie and deny responsibility. Attitudes change somewhat when the Sheriffs department shows up and serves the paperwork and you would be amazed how friendly and helpful people get when they are trying to slither out of a lawsuit by setting out of court.
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  #9  
Old 04-20-2007, 11:44 PM
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Falling trees

Quote:
Originally Posted by softconsult View Post
I know only that when a 200 year old oak tree fell through my house from the neighbor's backyard, my insurance agent clearly said that I had no claim against my neighbor. It is classified as an "Act of God" or some such terminology. My insurance covered the damage.

Good luck getting the city to pay you.

Steve
Here in Seattle last winter we had a few BIG windstorms which brought down hundreds of all trees all over the county, flattening cars and houses, etc. These trees were not dead but just didn't have the root systems to withstand the wind. Subsequently, an "official source" somewhere wrote that if your neighbor's tree flattens your Maybach 62, and you have sent him a registered letter previously stating your concerns about his tree and he does nothing, he is liable for damage caused when it came down.
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Old 04-21-2007, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestas View Post
I'm not an attorney. I believe this will be treated like pothole damage to a car. Unless you can prove that the city knew of the dangerous limb on their tree for at least a month before the incident, they will not take responsibility for the incident.
That is not correct.

If the tree is on city property then the city is liable for any damage it causes. The city does not need to have prior knowledge of the tree's condition.

I would suggest filing a claim with the city for the damage to your car.

Document all your damages and make sure that all communications with the city's officials are in writing. If you have a telephone conversation, send a letter to confirm the subject of your conversation.

Do not hire a lawyer at this point. It will cost you too much (lawyers willnot take this on a contigency fee basis). Hire a lawyer only after all otehr avenues have been exhausted.

The city has insurance for these types of occurrences. Most likely you will be dealing with the claims adjustor for the insurance company.

Good luck my friend.

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Last edited by BENZ-LGB; 04-21-2007 at 01:04 AM.
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