In 1710 George Berkeley+ famously asked: “If a tree falls in the forest, and there is nobody there to hear it, does it make a sound?” The foundation of his theory was that perception creates our reality. Whether or not you hear it, one day your reality might feature your NEIGHBOR’s TREE falling into YOUR YARD during a windstorm. If that is the case, WHO is responsible to cover the cost of cleanup and/or damages?
In most cases, it will be your homeowner’s policy that will cover the costs, subject to specific coverage language. At first, that may not seem fair, but if the situation is reversed and your tree falls, your neighbor will bear the responsibility for repair and cleanup of their own property. Keep in mind that wind isn’t anyone’s fault; it’s just an act of Mother Nature.
However, if Mother Nature is not the cause, the responsibility rests with the tree’s owner. For example, if your do-it-yourself neighbor attempts to cut down the tree and is negligent in the process, your neighbor may be responsible for damage to your property. In addition, if the tree was diseased and your neighbor was aware of its condition in advance, this may create a level of negligence that would make them liable. Of course, the same would be true for you if your tree happened to fall on their property.
The best recommendation is to carefully inspect the trees on your property and take action to prevent hazardous conditions. Consider hiring a professional arborist who can detect diseased trees or trim dead branches that could fall and cause damage.
+Born in Ireland, Anglican bishop and philosopher, George Berkeley sailed to America in 1728 for the purpose “of founding a college at the Bermudas for the Christian civilization of America, he did not achieve his purpose, but spent three years in Rhode Island before returning to England.
Some content: Marty Skidmore