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Loren, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34430
Experience:  30 years experience representing clients.
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My neighbor's branch of her tree damaged my house. My

Customer Question

My neighbor's branch of her tree damaged my house. My insurance company paid for removal of the branch but not her tree. She said she'd give me $500 towards removal of the damaged tree which was on her property. Now she tells me my insurance company paid it and she won't. Who is responsible for the tree removal expense?
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: PA
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Yes, to my insurance company who paid for branch and damage but not her tree removal
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: not that I can think of
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Loren replied 3 months ago.
Thank you for using JA. I am Loren, a licensed attorney for over 30 yrs. Thank you for your patience as I review your question. I will post my response shortly.
Be aware, however, this is general information and no attorney client relationship is established.
The site may ask you if you wish to speak by phone for an extra charge. While I am happy to speak to you, if you wish, I am also happy to continue online. So, there is no pressure to spend extra money. Some people just prefer the speed of a phone call and that the information not be posted on the public forum.
Expert:  Loren replied 3 months ago.
I am sorry to hear of your dilemma. I realize how frustrating this is for you and I hope to provide you information which is accurate and useful, even though it may not be the news you were hoping to get.
As a general rule, property owner's are not liable for damage done by falling trees, branches, etc., unless they are on notice that the tree on their property is sick or damaged, and in danger of falling, and they fail tomtake reasonable steps to prevent same.
In other words, there is no liability without establishing negligence. Otherwise, the remedy is self help. A property owner is permitted to trim back any encroaching growth back to the property line without the permission of the tree owner.
Expert:  Loren replied 3 months ago.
if you can establish liability, the neighbor owes. If not, they are not responsible and the law views the falling branch as an "Act of God".
Expert:  Loren replied 3 months ago.
Did you have further questions? I am happy to continue if you do.
Expert:  Loren replied 3 months ago.
In rereading the question I realize I may have misunderstood. The neighbor has no obligation to remove the tree or allow you you to remove the tree. As I wrote, your legal remedy is self-help. You can, at your own expense, trim back any encroaching branches or roots, To the extent you can do so without trespass. You are not permitted, without permission, to remove any part of the tree located on the neighbor's property. So, the tree removal expense is your neighbor's, since it is their tree on their property, but they have no obligation to do so to the extent it is on their property.
Expert:  Loren replied 3 months ago.
I realize this is probably not the answer you were hoping to receive. Also, please remember that this is not a moral judgement on my part. As a professional, however, I am sometimes placed in the position of having to deliver news which is not favorable to a customer's legal position, but accurately reflects their position under the law. I hate it, but it happens and I only ask that you not penalize me with a bad or poor rating for having to deliver less than favorable news.