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10 Apr 2017
tree accident liability

Are Homeowners Responsible for Tree Care-Related Accidents on Their Property?

Ever wondered what would happen if a tree from your property falls and crashes on your neighbor’s car, or worse, their house? Would you be held liable?

Honestly speaking, the answer to this question is a complicated one. It greatly depends on several factors, which include state laws, the circumstances of the accident, and even the type of insurance that the homeowner possesses. Please note: The following should not be taken as legal advice. Always seek legal counsel from a professional as each situation is unique and laws vary depending on local laws. 

There are plenty of reasons that can cause a tree to fall—bad weather, construction, and old tree age.

Ultimately, however, homeowners are responsible for maintaining their house and yard and making sure that the whole property is hazard-free. This, of course, includes the trees planted there. This is the reason why proper tree maintenance and management is necessary.


Learn more about tree accident liability by examining these different scenarios:

Tree-Related Accidents during Extreme Weather

Severe weather disturbances like hurricanes and earthquakes have the capability of uprooting your trees. A powerful lightning strike can easily snap your tree and send it crashing into nearby houses and parked cars. Tornadoes can uproot your tree and send it crashing down. As disastrous as these examples may be, homeowners usually don’t suffer any liability in cases like this.

Since homeowners do not have the ability to predict events like these, they will not be held answerable for any damage caused by trees. The technical term for this is an “act of God.”

What about if a tree topples because a construction project you’re doing accidentally weakens its root network? This is a question tackled in the next section.


Tree-Related Accidents during Construction

Let’s say, you’ve hired a contractor to do some landscaping then your tree topples and crashes into your neighbor’s roof. Will you be held liable for the damages? The answer can go both ways.

Again, generally, you will be considered responsible for this accident even if you are not the one who cut the tree. If the contractor has proven that it was your instruction that caused the accident, then you will certainly be accountable for it.

If you have hired the service of a reputable contractor, and you are certain that it wasn’t your instruction that caused the accident, then you have nothing to worry since these companies also shoulder liabilities for these kinds of accidents. But if you’ve ended up hiring a dishonest and uninsured contractor, you’d be in big trouble because you will have to pay for the damages dealt from your own pocket.

You’ve probably heard this piece of advice a million times, but let me just repeat this: when seeking the help of a contractor, make sure to check first if they are insured so that you will not be held responsible for cases like tree accidents.


Tree-Related Accident Caused By a Dead Tree

As we have mentioned earlier, homeowners are expected all times to guarantee that their property is hazard-free. In other words, if an accident happens due to a tree that topples over, then the homeowner will certainly be held accountable for that.

Tree accidents like these can be avoided easily. If the homeowner has religiously inspected and maintained the trees in his yard, such incidents would not happen. Certainly, a diligent homeowner would notice dying trees and take care of the plants, preventing accidents from ever occurring.

In such case such as a dying tree that simply cannot be saved, availing of a tree removal service would be a very good idea; it would ensure that no case of falling timber would ever happen.

Conversely, if a claim adjuster can prove that the tree is already dead and yet you did not do anything to remove it, you’ll be faced with more consequences.


The Best Way of Avoiding Tree Accidents – Taking Care of Them!

It is no secret that keeping your trees healthy is one of the best ways that you can do to avoid tree accidents from occurring. Knowing the right time for a tree removal can also spare you from the legal hassles you would have to face if ever you end up inadvertently damaging the neighborhood because of negligence.

Inspect the plants yearly, provide their basic needs, and hire a tree care company if necessary.

Don’t drain your money by having to take care of damage claims every now and then. Be a responsible tree owner.



More info: photo by FraukeFeind

27 Feb 2017

3 Hidden Benefits of Hiring a Certified Tree Service Pro

The Advantages of Having a Certified Arborist Work on Your Tree Care Needs


There is no question that trees add more than just visual appeal to your property. They also increase its value, so long as the trees are healthy and well-maintained. Spending time, money, and effort on the well-being of your trees can actually be considered as an investment that presents considerable returns for you, the property owner, and for the community as a whole, not to mention all the ecological benefits that trees can provide.


But there’s a hitch.


A tree that is not well-taken care of, if it’s left unpruned or is ridden with diseases, is a potential liability and an accident that’s waiting to happen. Tree care services and maintenance that are done inconsistently and incorrectly pose serious risks not just to the tree itself, but to everyone who comes near it as well.

Can you imagine having your kids and their friends playing under a tree that has sustained significant winter damage? For all you know its limbs and branches are already so weak that the gentlest gust of wind could cause it to break and fall off. This is why having a well-maintained tree is very important.

If you’re going to hire a professional to work on your trees, you might as well go with the best. And there’s no one better in tree care services than a Certified Arborist.


What is an Arborist?

An Arborist is a tree care specialist who can provide for the specific needs of individual trees. These professionals, also known as tree doctors, are masters of the art and science of tree care. Certified Arborists are well-versed and highly-trained in identifying the individual needs of trees, as well as providing care and maintenance to ensure health and well-being for these silent gentle giants.


The Benefits of Hiring an Arborist and the Different Services They Can Provide

The benefits of hiring an Arborist may not be as obvious or clear-cut as most people think. The services they provide are not that much different from those offered by most tree care services. However, there are a few notable exceptions, such as the level of knowledge, care, and scientific approach in dealing with tree health care and maintenance.


1. Planting Services

This is probably one of the biggest advantages Certified Arborists can provide you. If you want to add value to your property by planting some trees, there is no better expert to approach than an Arborist. He can recommend the right trees to plant, where to plant them, and how to plant the trees safely and properly.

  • Arborists can provide preventive maintenance against infestation and disease, which is crucial to young and newly planted trees.
  • Arborists can lend their expertise on the proper soil aeration techniques to make sure that air, water, and nutrients are efficiently absorbed by the tree’s root system.
  • Arborists can advise proper nutrients for specific tree species.  Soil pH, available organic matter and water make a difference is how provide fertilization programs to ensure the best growth and development.
  • Arborists can help find the appropriate trees best suited to your specific location, as well as provide tips on the proper planting depth and the overall care and maintenance required for the newly planted tree.


2. Pruning Services

Any tree company or tree professional can provide pruning services with the proper tools. However, a Certified Arborist can provide you with much more than your basic pruning service. Arborists can . . .

  • Help guide young trees to develop stronger limbs and overall structure.
  • Help remove damaged limbs and branches in a safe and efficient manner.
  • Help find the disease-ridden parts that may compromise the integrity of the tree.
  • Help shape the tree so that it doesn’t interfere with structures.
  • Help prepare the tree for the harsh winter season and help it recover through a tactical pruning approach.


3. Tree Health Care and Emergency Services

Preventive care and maintenance are most notably the biggest advantages that a good arborist can provide to tree owners. Despite what you might think, trees require constant care and maintenance, especially during difficult seasons like summer and winter.

Sometimes, a tree may have a compromised structure due to neglect and you won’t even notice it until it’s too late and the tree has fallen over from its roots or cleft into two. Certified Arborists are great at detecting potential problems and providing the appropriate solution before things become worse.


Share your thoughts and experiences below by leaving a comment. 


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Wikimedia Commons photo by Environmenttrees

12 Jan 2017

Uh Oh. Are Homeowners Liable for Tree Care Accidents?

Know Your Responsibilities and Liabilities: Why DIY Tree Care is Always a Dangerous Proposition

Homeowners are responsible for whatever happens inside their property. And with that being said, they are potentially liable for whatever mishaps or accidents that occur within the property grounds. If you have trees inside your property, and you don’t take care of them regularly, if a branch breaks and land on someone, hurting them in the process, you will be held liable for the injuries that person may have sustained.

In addition, if you have professionals working on your property and they get hurt while pruning one of your trees, you may even be held liable for whatever tree care accidents that occur, especially if the company’s credentials and paperwork are not in order.

So what does this mean?

To avoid getting sued or get slapped with a fine, you need to pay closer attention to the trees that grow within your property. To make sure that the trees are in good condition, you may want to consider doing regular tree care maintenance. And for that, you’re going to have to hire a professional tree care service.


Not All Tree Service Companies Are Equal

Before you decide to hire any particular tree care professional or company, you need to do some research to make sure that they meet the following standards:

  • Insurance – Tree care companies must have liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance if they’re going to work in their client’s property. Otherwise, you the homeowner, will be legally liable for any accidents that take place in your property while they are in your employ.
  • Good Reputation – When you do your research, you should also make sure that the company you want to hire has a good reputation within the industry. Try to verify any professional affiliations they might have. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau for more information about the company.
  • Local References – You should always ask for references before you decide to hire the company. This will allow you to check the quality of their work and whether or not previous clients were satisfied or disappointed with their service.
  • Knowledge and Expertise – Check to see if the company has up-to-date knowledge and expertise regarding proper tree care and safety protocols. This is very important as it ensures safety and limits the occurrence of workplace accidents.
  • Contracts – Make sure to carefully check the contract so will know what your responsibilities are as the homeowner and what your liabilities might be. Never hire a company without a written contract.


Why Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Tree Maintenance Is Not a Good Idea

If you’re worried about homeowner liability when it comes to tree maintenance, then you should probably think twice about DIY tree care, especially if you have no experience whatsoever in this kind of work.

That’s not all . . .

Sure, pruning tree branches and cutting off rotten tree limbs sounds simple enough. In reality, it actually isn’t. In fact, working with trees, specifically the bigger ones, is extremely complicated and dangerous without the appropriate knowledge or expertise.

Accidents and injuries can occur, improper handling of cut tree limbs to faulty pruning equipment. And if a neighbor happens to walk by as you were sawing off a large branch, and it hits the person on the head, you would be in serious trouble.

Accident factors that are commonly associated with DIY tree care work:

  1. The use of extension ladders.

If you’re doing your own tree maintenance work, at some point you’re going to need an extension ladder in order to reach the upper portions of the tree. You might want to think carefully about how you’re going to use the extension ladder. A lot of DIY tree care accidents have occurred because of the improper use of extension ladders.

  1. Sharp, heavy, or faulty equipment.

Chainsaws, pruning shears, hand axe—these are tools that require some form of mastery before they can be operated safely. And even then, accidents may still happen, especially if the equipment is faulty. Professionals have years of training trying to operate such equipment. And because they’ve mastered the use of the equipment, they make it look easy. Assuming that operating a chainsaw is easy would be your first mistake.

  1. Inadequate knowledge about the physics and biology of trees.

Simply sawing or hacking away branches and limbs with your chainsaw and axe is really foolhardy and dangerous. Proper calculations, sufficient knowledge about tree biology, and common sense are important when it comes to tree care safety and avoiding unnecessary accidents.


What are your thoughts? Comment below!


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