Thursday, September 1, 2011

Irene’s Aftermath: Your Legal Rights When Your Neighbor’s Tree Causes Property Damage or Personal Injury

In the wake of Irene’s path of destruction, you may be wondering what your legal rights are if your neighbor’s tree fell onto your property causing personal injury or property damage. The New Hampshire Supreme Court recently provided some guidance on this issue. The Court held that a landowner who knows or should know that his tree is decayed or defective and who fails to reasonably maintain the tree is liable for the resulting damages even when the harm occurs outside his property line. The court however made it clear that for liability to arise, the decay and disease of the tree must be readily apparent thereby legally requiring the landowner to take reasonable steps to prevent damages and injury before they occur. On the other hand, if the neighbor’s tree was perfectly healthy before falling, he will not be held responsible for any resulting damage or injuries.

Submitted By Elizabeth M. Leonard, Esq.

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