Davis Tree Accident Lawyer
With alarming regularity, Davis trees and tree branches come crashing down without warning, causing bodily injury, property damage, and even death.
Our region is particularly at risk for falling trees, not only due to the vast urban forests we enjoy but also because the area is prone to drought, which weakens trees, making them more susceptible to breakage. Additionally, the Davis area regularly sees moderate to severe winds, another risk factor for tree falls.
Our office has handled numerous catastrophic injury cases related to falling trees and has more than 38 years of experience with complex personal injury. We know exactly what to do if you or someone you love has suffered injuries as a result of being struck by a fallen tree or tree branch.Common Injuries Caused by Improperly Maintained Trees
Our law firm knows all too well that a falling tree or tree branch has the ability to cause serious, even catastrophic injuries and death. Some of the injuries that can be caused by a falling tree or tree branch are:
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Neck and Back Injuries
- Fractured Skull
- Broken Collarbone
- Broken Ribs
- Other Fractured Bones
- Internal Bleeding
Because of the weight and velocity of a falling tree or heavy tree branch, if such an object strikes a human, the risk of disabling injuries or death is great. Often a tree or branch will strike a victim in the head, resulting in traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI regularly results in permanent impairments, and a serious decrease in quality of life, not only for the victim but the injured party’s family.Monetary Recovery for Injuries Caused by Fallen Davis Trees
If you have suffered injuries from a falling tree or branch you may be due significant compensation for the damages you sustained. The damages an injured party may incur include past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of income, and loss of future earning capacity. Our attorneys have successfully represented Davis residents who were injured by falling trees. Our firm takes great pride in every case we handle.
Here are the types of damages that may be available to you if you have sustained injuries caused by a falling tree or tree branch:
- Economic: This category includes medical expenses already incurred as well as those expected in the future due to your injures. Economic damages also consist of wage loss, future wage loss, out of pocket expenditures, and property damage.
- Noneconomic (or General) Damages: This describes compensation for your pain and suffering as well as the loss or reduction of enjoyment of life as a result of your injuries.
- Loss of Consortium: If you are married, your spouse may be entitled to monetary recovery due to his or her losing your companionship as a result of your injuries.
Sections 833 and 834 of the California Civil Code establish who owns a tree. If the trunk of a tree is entirely within the boundaries of a single property, the owner of that property is the sole owner of the tree. This applies even if the tree branches, leaves, or roots spill onto another property. However, if the trunk of a tree rests partly on the land of adjacent owners, each would be determined to jointly own the tree.Property Owners and Their Duties
A property owner has a responsibility to safely maintain trees on his or her property. If a tree causes property damage or injury to someone, the person or entity responsible for that tree, if they knew of or should have known about the danger, has to pay for damages.Knowledge of Tree Dangers
A property owner has what is known by the legal term of Actual Knowledge if there is an obvious dangerous condition visible in a tree on their property. This could include a precariously hanging dead branch or a tree that is visibly decaying. If the property owner ignored the danger rather than fix it, he or she would be responsible for any injury or property damage that occurred as a result of the dangerous condition.
Another legal concept under which a property owner can be found responsible for injuries caused by a tree on the property is known as Constructive Knowledge. In order for there to be constructive knowledge, it would have to be proven that a “reasonably prudent person” would have known about the dangerous condition of the tree.
Because of the complexities involved in proving that a property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition of a tree, it is crucial to seek experienced legal counsel.Who Pays Damages for Injuries Caused by Fallen Davis Trees?
As discussed above, an injured party must prove that there was negligence exhibited by the tree property owner. In order to do that one must show:
- The owner was required to prevent harm.
- That owner failed in his or her responsibility to prevent harm.
- The failure of the owner to prevent harm was the cause of the injury.
Some questions an experienced attorney will ask in the course of the investigation:
- Did the landowner inspect trees on the property regularly?
- Did the landowner properly maintain the trees on his or her property?
If the answer to either question is no, that may be evidence of negligence by the property owner. Because there are tricky exceptions to negligence involving occurrences known as “acts of God” or “forces of nature”, it is important for an injured party to have a expert legal advocate so that his or her damages will be paid.Be Aware of the Time in Which You Must File a Claim
California has a two-year personal injury statute of limitations. That means that a claim for injuries must be settled or a lawsuit filed before the two year anniversary of the injury.
Government Claims: If you suffered injuries caused by a falling tree or branch that was on public property, the period in which you must act is much less than two years. That is why it is imperative that an injured party immediately contact an experienced Davis tree injury attorney if the injuries occurred on public or government property.
Injury of a Minor Caused by Falling Tree: If a falling tree or tree branch results in injuries to a minor child, the time in which the claim has to be settled or a lawsuit filed is extended. For minors in California who have a personal injury claim, the case must be filed before the two (2) year anniversary of the minor’s 18th birthday.The Trees of Davis, California
Davis, California is home to a variety of beautiful trees. This should come as no surprise considering the region’s rich agricultural history. The City of Davis maintains approximately 13,000 trees which are located on the streets as well as more than 5,000 trees within the city's park system. The City of Davis takes care of the original planting, pruning, replacement, and pest management. Some trees planted within a ten-foot maintenance easement on residential properties are also considered “City trees”.
Davis City trees must be one of the varieties found within the Master Street Tree List, which include but are not limited to:
- Many varieties of Ash trees
- Several types of Oak trees
- Assorted Maple varieties
- Southern Magnolias
- Various elms
- Purple Leaf Plum
- Thundercloud Plum
The Master Street Tree list incorporates species that are appropriate to the Davis climate and have historically performed well in the region as shade trees. Occasionally, new tree species will be introduced into the area on an experimental basis and in small numbers. This is in order to ensure that the trees are well suited for the Davis climate and that they are able to successfully grow to their mature sizes.Why Do Davis Trees Fall?
There are a number of reasons a tree or branch could fall:
- Failure to Properly Maintain the Tree
- Rotting Trunk or Roots
- High Winds / Heavy Rain / Adverse Weather
- Tree Fungus or Other Disease
You may think that paying a certified arborist to properly inspect the trees on your property is an unnecessary expense, but it may protect your monetary assets. If a tree located on your property injures a person, it can become a huge liability as you could be responsible for that person’s medical bills, wage loss, and pain and suffering.
The news clip below shows the aftermath of a large tree falling onto a vehicle in Davis.Davis Tree Accident Lawyer
I'm Ed Smith, a tree accident lawyer in Davis, California. If you or anyone you love sustained serious injuries due to a fallen tree or limb, do not hesitate to call me at (503) 392-9400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice. With over 38 years of experience dealing with argumentative insurance companies, my firm will vigorously work on your behalf, and if necessary, expertly present your case at trial.
Photo: Simon Rae on Unsplash
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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 5.12.20]