Folsom Tree Accident Lawyer
Folsom is located on the eastern edge of the Sacramento Valley, just where the majestic oaks of the lowlands are beginning to transition to the mixed forests and pines of the Sierra Nevada foothills. And as a fast-growing suburb, many non-native trees have been planted over the last several decades. Trees become the responsibility of the landowners on whose property they are growing, and part of that responsibility includes the duty to properly maintain trees that may become overgrown, diseased, or even die. Trees that aren't properly maintained can lose limbs or even fall down entirely, and something as large and heavy as a tree limb can do significant damage to the property -- or people -- that it may fall upon. The Folsom Tree Accident Attorneys at our law firm can assist people who have been seriously injured by falling trees or tree limbs by helping to identify the responsible parties and recover appropriate compensation from homeowners insurance and other types of coverage.When a California Tree Falls in the Woods
When the proverbial tree falls in the woods, there may not be anyone around to hear it, but trees in urban and suburban settings are much more likely to not only be heard but to fall upon people and their property. Prominent, fully-grown trees can weigh many tons, and large branches from a mature oak can weigh hundreds of pounds.
Unsurprisingly, something this big can injure people when they fall on or near them, but even smaller branches can cause significant injury when falling from 20 to 30 feet in the air. One reason is that falling tree branches hit people on their topmost parts -- their heads. A 10-pound branch falling 20 feet onto a person's head can easily lead to skull fractures, traumatic brain injuries with both short-term and long-term consequences, upper spine injuries, broken bones, and severe lacerations and contusions.
While not an everyday occurrence like car accidents, fatalities from falling trees and limbs are not extraordinarily rare events either:
- One study published in Natural Hazards found an average of about 20 deaths per year just in wind-related tree "failures."
- Estimates from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) put annual tree-related deaths at about 100 on-the-job incidents, mainly in the "tree care industry."
- A study published by the Centers for Disease Control on fatalities among grounds maintenance workers found 172 incidents during five years of death resulting from falling tree limbs.
These three fatality estimates are for relatively narrow categories of circumstance and employment. They also only estimate the numbers of deaths, and for every death from a falling tree limb or tree, there are many more occurrences of injury.Who is Responsible for a Folsom, California Tree Accident?
Specific sections in the California Civil Code identify who owns a given tree -- whoever owns the land upon which the tree trunk stands, sometimes more than one owner if the trunk stands on a property line. In general, the owner of a tree will have primary liability for injuries caused by a falling tree or limb, especially in the case of improperly maintained trees or those that should have been removed because they were diseased or dead.
Sometimes other individuals or corporations may have liability if their specific actions or negligence contributed to the incident -- arborists or groundskeepers, for example, who may have failed to use appropriate industry standards in maintaining the trees, or neighboring property owners who may have improperly trimmed or cut limbs overhanging onto their property where this unbalanced or damaged the tree.Folsom Tree Accident Claims and Lawsuits
Where an injury or death has been caused by a California falling tree limb or tree, it's essential to promptly investigate the incident to determine the following:
- Why did the limb or tree fall;
- Who owns the tree;
- Who, other than the owner, may have been responsible for maintaining the tree; and
- Whether any outside parties contributed to causing the incident.
At a minimum, this investigation will involve collecting evidence such as the fallen limb itself, photographs of the limb, the tree, and nearby trees, public records showing ownership of the property, and identification of the property owner's insurance.
An insurance claim should also promptly be submitted for the personal injuries sustained in the incident and, if necessary, a lawsuit should be filed if an adequate and timely settlement can't be resolved with the insurance company. An experienced personal injury lawyer will have the skills, experience, and resources to properly and promptly investigate and resolve tree accident claims and lawsuits.
Although pruning large trees in California is undoubtedly best left to a professional arborist or tree care company, this video provides some tips for minor pruning work by the DIY homeowner:Folsom CA Tree Accident Lawyer
While it's a pleasure to live in our artificial "urban forests" and "suburban forests" in places like Folsom, it's also important to recognize that urban and suburban settings may not be the healthiest places for our trees. Careful observation and maintenance are needed to keep our trees healthy and to prevent incidents like tree limb failures. Tree collapses may cause serious injury to people who are nearby. If you or a member of your family has been seriously injured by a falling tree or tree limb, please call us today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice, or contact us through our online form.
Editor's Note: updated [cha 7.24.23] Image by Kevan Craft from Pixabay gm [cs 966] bw