Falling trees can cause a lot of damage, both to your property and to your person. In the Atlanta area, with its high urban tree canopy, fallen trees are a common sight. What you do after a tree falls in your yard can make a big difference in terms of cost, safety, and liability.
When a tree falls on your property in Georgia, determining who is responsible for the resulting damage or injury can be complex. According to Georgia law, tree liability depends on the following three main factors:
Ownership of the tree: Who owns the tree that fell? Was it on your property or your neighbor's? This will determine who is responsible for dealing with the fallen tree.
Reason for the fall: Why did the tree fall? Was it because of a natural event like a storm or was it due to neglect or disease? This will determine if someone is liable for the tree's fall.
Knowledge of unsafe condition: Did the landowner know or should they have known that the tree was unsafe? If so, they may be held liable for the tree's fall.
It is important to note that determining the answers to these questions can be complex, and seeking guidance from an expert or legal professional may be necessary.
Is it mandatory for homeowners to inspect the trees on the property line to check if they show visible signs of death, illness, or decay?
Yes, homeowners are required to inspect trees on their property line to check for visible signs of death, disease, or rot. This is according to Georgia law, which states that urban landowners have the responsibility to inspect the trees along their property line. Property owners are expected to look for visible signs of decay and rot in the trees. It is not necessary to check all trees for non-visible rot on a regular basis, nor is it required to hire a professional to do the inspection.
Who determines if a tree is hazardous?
According to Georgia law, property owners are not required to seek professional opinions about the health of their trees. However, if a property owner is uncertain about the health of a tree or wants to investigate it further, they can consult with a certified arborist. A certified arborist can assess the health of a tree and determine the likelihood of it falling.
Can a homeowner be held liable for injuries or damages caused by trees?
Property owners in Georgia are only responsible for injuries or damages caused by their trees if they were aware or should have been aware that the tree was unhealthy or dangerous, and they did not take appropriate action to remove or fix the tree before the injury or damage occurred. In simpler terms, the owner must have been neglectful for them to be liable. This means that property owners should take the same actions that any reasonable person would take to take care of their trees.
When a seemingly healthy tree falls over a property line as a result of severe weather or other natural causes, who is held responsible?
When a healthy tree falls over a property line as a result of natural causes such as severe weather, the property owner is generally not held responsible for any damages or injuries. This is because the fall could not be predicted by a reasonable person. However, who is responsible for cleaning up the fallen tree under these circumstances is not yet clear under Georgia law. According to case law, the responsibility to remove the tree stops at the property line and a property owner is not responsible for removing any part of the tree from an adjacent lot.
When a tree whose trunk sits on the property line between two lots, who is responsible for it?
According to Georgia law, when a tree trunk crosses the property line of two lots, both lot owners have a stake in the tree and are responsible for it. The property owner on whose land any part of the tree trunk is located, owns that part of the tree. Additionally, both owners have the right to support from the other owner and can demand that the other owner take care of their part of the tree so as not to harm the whole tree unreasonably.
One effective method to avoid disagreements regarding liability for damage caused by a fallen tree, or the responsibility for its removal, is to proactively consult with a certified arborist, as recognized by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), prior to any incident occurring. This approach can save time and potential difficulties in the future. Life's Tree Doctor offers arborist evaluations on a 7-day-a-week basis, please contact us directly at 678-543-5443 or schedule your assessment online.