When Mother Nature lets loose, even the most prepared among us can find ourselves facing significant damage. In fact, strong winds and gusts can cause severe damage to your property, your vehicle and the surrounding trees.
Was one of your trees blown over by the wind? Keep reading to learn what to do in a situation like this and, most importantly, who’s supposed to pay the bill!
When a tree falls, who’s responsible?
Although trees are very appealing to just about any property owner, they can cause serious damage if they fall or break. They’re often a source of conflict between neighbors. If one of your trees falls on your neighbor’s roof, who’s supposed to pay for the repairs? It all depends on what caused the tree to fall. However, according to the law, the person who owns a tree is responsible for any damage that tree (including its branches, roots, etc.) causes to someone else’s property.
But not in the case of force majeure!
It’s a different story if the tree fell as a result of force majeure. Force majeure, sometimes called “acts of God,” includes such unforeseeable events beyond human control as violent winds, torrential rains, sleet and so on. Therefore, if the tree didn’t fall because it was already distressed or diseased, but rather because of strong gusts of wind, the owner of the tree is no longer held responsible.
So who’s supposed to pay for the damage then?
If your tree fell because of any type of disease (if it was partially uprooted or weakened because of a lack of maintenance), you’re the one who has to pay the bill. But if your tree is healthy and a windstorm is responsible for knocking it down, the bill will be paid by your insurance company or your neighbor’s insurance company if the damage was to his or her property. The good news is that most homeowner insurance policies include coverage for damage caused by wind.
Act responsibly by taking care of your trees
You should be aware that, if the owner of the tree fails to take the necessary measures to ensure that the tree remains healthy, it may not be possible to claim force majeure if the tree falls. The owner can only prove exemption from liability if he or she can demonstrate that it really was because of weather conditions (violent winds) that the tree fell and not because of a failure to properly secure the tree.
In the event that the factors that caused the tree to fall remain unclear and you’re unable to come to a mutual agreement, the courts will have to determine whether it’s a case of force majeure or not, as well as who should be held responsible for the costs.
So ensuring that your trees are well-maintained and that any dead trees on your property are cut down is a responsible action that can prevent serious problems in the future.
24/7 emergency tree-trimming services
Are you facing an emergency because a tree has fallen on your home or vehicle? Don’t hesitate to contact the reliable, experienced team at Émondage SBP for a quick, efficient response! Our specialized equipment is safe and effective, and you’re guaranteed that the work will be done with care and professionalism. With more than 15 years of experience, we’re the experts in tree trimming and arboriculture in Montreal, on the North Shore and the South Shore.