Mother nature is unpredictable – flash floods, fires, and earthquakes are just a few obstacles people living in California face every day. The Santa Ana winds are a common issues as well. These winds often blow hazardous debris in roadways which obstruct traffic.
Another common consequence of high winds is the very dangerous possibility that branches and trees could fall on you or your vehicle.
Certain damages may be covered by your auto insurance policy or may be covered by the insurance policy of the property owner depending on where the accident took place.
There are a few options to consider when determining who is legally responsible when a tree falls on your vehicle.
Filing a Claim with Your Insurance
Whether it’s your tree, a neighbor’s tree, or a tree in the park, if it falls on your vehicle it is devastating. Having the proper car insurance coverage on your vehicle protects you from financial risks when involved in an accident. Using your car insurance does expose you to pay for a deductible, but if the tree that caused the damages on your vehicle does not belong to you, you are able to get your deductible reimbursed.
If the tree falls on your vehicle, you can use your comprehensive or collision coverage.
Comprehensive Coverage– helps pay to replace or repair your vehicle if it’s damaged in an incident that’s not a collision, such as damages resulting from fire, vandalism or falling objects like a tree.
Collision Coverage– helps pay to repair or replace costs if your are involved in a collision if your car crashes into an object such as a tree.
If a falling branch or tree falls on your vehicle is owned by a neighbor or the tree is on private property, you are dealing with a premise liability matter. Premise liability is when the owner of the property is responsible for damages due to dangerous conditions, such as lack of maintenance.
You must prove that the owner of the tree failed to take reasonable care in maintaining the property, which led to the vehicle damages and at times, injuries to oneself. If the tree or branches that fell on your car, caused bodily injury, you could have grounds to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the property.
Claims Made Against City Property
Depending on the state where the tree falls on your vehicle, there are immunity rules in place that protect the city entity from premise liability claims. In cases that involve falling trees, city entities like to defend their claims by stating the event was an “act of god”, therefore it was a natural hazard and outside human control.
In order to prove that the entity was negligent, you must prove that they knew or should reasonably have known of the unsafe condition. It is important to know how to recover the financial damages incurred when a tree falls on your vehicle.
Time Available to File a Claim
The statute of limitations is the amount of time given to file a claim or lawsuit against the responsible party. Every state has distinct statutes that allow one to pursue a claim for property damage and bodily injuries. Believe it or not, property damage and bodily injury statutes are not always given the same amount of time.
In many states, if a claim is being filed against a city or state entity, the time limitation is not the same, as one filing a claim against a private, business or residential entity. Failing to file a claim in the right amount of time, can forever bare you in recovering the damages from your accident.
If A Tree Falls On Your Vehicle, Consult An Experienced Attorney
Damages resulting from a fallen tree branch or tree trunk may bring unexpected medical expenses and financial losses. Consult with one of our experienced attorneys at Sweet Law Group. With over 44 years of legal experience, our team of attorneys have recovered millions for our clients. We know what it takes to get the justice and maximum compensation deserved. Call (800) 203-3061, for a free, no-obligation consultation today!