Hit by a Fallen Tree – Who is to blame?
As winter is approaching, so are the storms which batter us with rain and high winds, often resulting in falling trees and branches, the consequences of which can sometimes be significant in terms of personal injuries and property damage.
Our litigation solicitors are often asked about trees such as the right to light, boundary disputes or overhanging trees, and our personal injury lawyers get asked about the risks trees can pose to the public and the possibility of personal injury claims arising from a fallen tree.
Injuries on public or private land
We have had enquiries from people who have been hit by falling branches, both on public and private property. We settled the case of a cyclist injured by overhanging bushes on a public footpath, but it’s trees and branches that can cause significant injury and, in some instances, even death.
Landowners Duty of Care
In respect of Local Authority, Parklands or even National Trust land, the basis of a claim of this type is the duty of care owed by the landowner to persons using the land as they must ensure it is reasonably safe.
Trees should be inspected regularly by a professional arborist, and signs of any disease which could weaken it should result in the tree being felled or having branches removed. If the tree is in a private garden the landowner is similarly responsible for the health and safety of those who could be affected by that tree and therefore legally responsible for any damage caused.
If a case does come to court, the landowner, public or private, could be asked to provide reports from such professionals to prove that trees have been examined.
Having dangerous trees is something which is on the increase in the UK. According to The Tree Council, up to 80% of Ash trees are currently at risk of Ash dieback disease, a devastating fungal disease which could compromise their safety.
Injury due to Landowner Negligence
“When clients who have been injured by trees come to us, we need to first prove there has been negligence on the part of the landowner,” said Personal Injury lawyer Lisa Anderson.
“That might mean trees have not been checked and/or managed over the years. I would look to prove who is accountable for any liability issues with tree maintenance in the garden or parkland."
“Secondly, the client must have been injured, and the normal procedure would be to ask for medical evidence such as GP and hospital notes and records and we would also advise any potential Claimant to provide photographs of the scene and the injuries sustained,” she added.
“If a tree falls and causes damage to your property or vehicle, your insurance may cover any damage, but you can make a personal injury compensation claim for injuries caused by fallen trees or branches provided liability can be established,” said Lisa.
How can we help?
If you have been injured or in an accident on public or private property our personal injury lawyers can help you make the right claim. Contact our injury specialists on 0161 785 3500 or email email@example.comSubscribe to our newsletter
Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.