Asuming my neighbor is being honest...a tree limb that over hangs my neighbors property fell off of a tree that stands on my property...the tree limb put a dent in the hood of her car and she wants me to pay for it...I called my homeowners insurance company and they said that it wasn't my liability...my neighbor says her sources (undisclosed) say it is my liability...I told her to call her auto insurance company, and let them and my homeowners insurer duke it out..but she is ignorant and wont do it...is the damage to her car my liability?...and if so shouldn't the liability portion of my homeowners insurance company pony up?...local laws probably differ in this matter so i will state that to the best of my knowledge both homes are in unincorporated Cobb County, GA.
Optional Information: GeorgiaAlready Tried: digging through the county and state codes, calling my homeowners insurance who of course gave me a run around.
Hello Customer,Statutes are only a starting point, as we also have common law which is developed by courts through the years. In Georgia, whether the owner of a tree is liable for any such damage it causes in falling on a neighbor's property depends on whether the landowner had prior notice that a particular tree constituted a danger. The landowner is responsible only if it can be proved that he had notice of a potential problem (disease, rot, etc.) before the tree (or part of the tree) fell. So, your insurance company is probably right. Unless you were aware that the tree was ailing and that a large branch was likely to fall, you are not liable.If your neighbor persists, tell her that you are not liable. If she decides to sue you (very unlikely), you have a defense. And you will, of course, turn that defense over to your insurance company.
Good luck to you!
Attorney at Law
Legal Disclaimer: The information I am providing you is for informational and research use only. You are paying me only for such information. The information is not legal advice and by rendering such information there is no formation of an attorney-client relationship. As the law is constantly changing, you are advised to consult with legal counsel in your area for specific information relevant to your situation.
Reply to Gloria Morris's Post: by "you have a defense" you mean that i'm only liable if i was negligent (such as i knew the tree to be in poor health, which i of course do not...it seems to be very much alive, and if it is diseased...well im no arborist...how would i know?), and in so much as if she decides to sue me... I can then tell her to deal with my insurance company...do i understand that right?
Exactly, Customer!Unless you had reason to know the tree was likely to cause this problem (and yes, if you are not an arborist you would not likely see any signs of problems), then you are not liable. If she nonetheless decided to sue you, your insurance company would have to defend you. Therefore, you have no worries.
Attorney for 22 years. General Practice, Labor/Employment, PI, WC, Criminal, Family.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).