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Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 55323
Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
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Neighbor's tree fell on my lawn. Should their insurance pay?

Customer Question

Neighbor's tree fell on my lawn. Should their insurance pay?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 10 months ago.

Yes. I presume that the downed tree is partially on the neighbors lawn and partially on yours. The neighbors insurance should pay for removal of the entire tree, mainly because there is also a question of (possible) liability involved, and they would want to negate that possibility right from the start. If they refuse to remove part of the tree that is on your land, then your homeowners insurance will do so, and then try to collect back the expense from the neighbors insurance company. You probably have no deductible for this type of claim, but I can't say for sure without seeing your policy.Please rate this answer three, four or five. If you have follow-up question please send me a reply. Thanks for using JUST ANSWER

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 10 months ago.

Thanks for using JUST ANSWER.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I have had to pay for the tree removal and reconstruction of hedge. I have had no time to debate as our house is under contract and we need to try to put it back to original state. I've spoken to my insurance and they say it is neighbors responsibility but law is showing differently. Therefore I'm not totally satisfied with the response
Expert:  Richard replied 10 months ago.

Hi...I see your prior expert has opted out. I'll see if I can help you. Who has liability depends upon whether the owner of the tree knew or should have known the tree was previously damaged or diseased. If the answer to that is yes, then the owner of the tree (or his insurance company) is responsible for the removal of and any damages caused by the tree. If the answer to that is no, then it would be considered an Act of God, and the owner of the tree has no liability for damage and is not responsible for the removal from the neighbor's property. If under the foregoing rules, it was your neighbor's responsibility, but you don't have the time to debate the issue, then you can proceed to remediate the situation and then file suit against your neighbor to collect the cost. Filing the suit will give you the collection options and leverage you need to collect the debt owed you. That's because once the suit is filed and a judgment awarded, you become a judgment creditor, and if he doesn’t then pay the judgment, you can have the sheriff serve a summons on him for a debtor examination. That forces him to meet you in court again and answer questions under oath about his assets. After that information is obtained, you have the power to garnish wages, attach bank accounts, have the sheriff seize other personal property, and/or place liens on any non-homestead property he owns to satisfy the judgment. Typically, simply filing the suit would be sufficient, because the neighbor would turn it over to their insurance company who would pay the claim rather than risk a charge of failing to reasonably settle and being liable for punitive damages over and above the claim amount.

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Expert:  Richard replied 10 months ago.

I just wanted to let you know that I will be away at a meeting for the next hour or so. Should you have a follow up while I’m away, I will address it immediately upon my return. Thank you in advance for your patience. I apologize for any inconvenience.