CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: What We Are Doing to Protect Our Clients

Eureka Tree Accident Lawyer

trees

Large trees and tree limbs fall with surprising regularity throughout Northern California, and when that happens, the results can be devastating. Our law firm has assisted several people who have sustained severe injuries due to being struck by falling trees and tree branches. If you or a loved one has been affected by a falling tree accident, our advice is to find an attorney who has handled these unusual and complex cases. There are often complexities involved in proving property owner negligence. We believe that if a dangerous tree harms a person, the tree owner should be held accountable for the monetary damages suffered by the injured party.  

Homeowners are Responsible for Maintaining Their Trees

Homeowners who have yards that contain a tree or trees are responsible for maintaining their tree(s) to ensure that no dangerous conditions exist. If you are a homeowner with trees on your property, we recommend investing in an inspection by a certified arborist or experienced tree professional. The arborist can check for any diseases or damage that put the tree at risk of falling. The professional will then recommend pruning, or if the damage is severe, removal. Such inspection and maintenance costs are much lower than potential damages if a tree in your yard causes a visitor severe injuries. 

Falling Eureka Trees Can Injure or Kill

In the course of our advocating for clients who have been injured by falling trees, we have seen that these types of accidents can cause a variety of injuries. Some of those include:

  • Broken bones
  • Concussion and other types of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
  • Back and neck injuries, including fractured vertebrae
  • Full or partial paralysis
  • Internal injuries

Unfortunately, in many cases, tree accidents cause fatal injuries. The victim is often struck in the head, neck, or upper body with a heavy object traveling at a high velocity. If the person survives, serious head trauma and TBI can leave behind devastating permanent injury and impairment. 

Potential Damages in a Tree Accident Case

Some of the monetary damages that may be recoverable if you were injured by a falling tree or limb include:

  • Medical bills - those already incurred and for future care ordered by a physician
  • Loss of income and loss of future earning capacity
  • Physical pain and emotional suffering
  • If applicable, an injured person’s spouse may be entitled to damages to compensate for the negative effect the injuries had on the marital relationship.

When the tree falling accident results in fatal injuries, the deceased’s heirs may bring a wrongful death claim.

Determining Tree Ownership

The City of Eureka has many trees that are located on public land. Those trees are under the dominion of governmental agencies. The determination to own a tree that is not on public property will follow the guidelines laid out in the California Civil Code Sections 833 and 834. Tree ownership depends on where the trunk is located. If it is fully within one plot of land, that plot owner is responsible for the tree. If the trunk spans more than one property, the owners of those adjacent properties are joint owners of the tree.

Again, homeowners and private property owners are legally responsible for maintaining the trees on their land.  

Proving Owner Negligence

To recover damages from a private property owner after injuries caused by a fallen tree, one must prove negligence. The homeowner must have known of the dangerous condition and did nothing to address it. A tree owner may also be determined to be liable (legally at fault) if he or she should have known about the tree’s dangerous condition. 

Often the insurance company for the homeowner will attempt to say that a tree falling was caused by an “act of God” or “force of nature” to get out of liability.  An experienced Eureka tree accident attorney will know what it takes to establish negligence so that a valid claim can go forward. 

Statute of Limitations

In California, a claim for personal injuries must be settled or filed in court before the two-year anniversary of the incident that caused the injury. 

When a claim is against a public/governmental entity, the time period in which you must settle or file is much shorter, only six months. The time limit for a person injured before 18 is longer - the two-year statute begins to run when the injured party turns 18. 

Eureka’s Beautiful Trees

Eureka is part of the North Coast redwood empire. In 2002 the City Council began a program encouraging homeowners to plant street trees. The street tree program came with a caveat that it was the homeowner’s responsibility to care for and maintain the tree despite it being a city program.  

The trees of Eureka are majestic but also prone to illness and damage. Falling trees happen with regularity throughout the region, and this sometimes causes car accidents or more direct personal injuries. Throughout California, falling trees cause property damage, injuries, and deaths every year. When and if such an occurrence happens to you, an experienced tree accident lawyer can help. Our law firm has been advocating on behalf of injured Northern Californians for close to four decades.  

Watch the YouTube video. Below is a clip uploaded by the Roadtrip Guys about Eureka's beautiful redwoods.

Eureka Tree Accident Lawyer

Hello - I'm Ed Smith, an experienced Eureka tree accident attorney. Devastating injuries can result from falling trees and falling tree limbs. Many times, the cases related to falling trees are wrongful death matters. If you or your family needs legal help after a falling tree accident, do not hesitate to reach out to us for compassionate, free, and friendly advice at (707) 564-1900 or (800) 404-5400. 

Photo: MMcB

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