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Oakland Tree Accident Lawyer

oakland tree injury lawyerYou may be surprised by how frequently Oakland trees will crash to the ground without warning.  When this happens, extensive property damage can occur.  Sometimes, the tree may strike a person, resulting in catastrophic injuries or even death.  In the event of injuries caused by a fallen tree or tree limb, it is important to contact a lawyer who understands and experiences dealing with the complexities and challenges of these unique tree accident cases.  Our Northern California law firm has that experience.  Our lawyers are skilled at navigating the pitfalls that can be associated with Oakland tree accident claims.  We do not let reluctant insurance adjusters off the hook.  If necessary, we will take the case to court with our extensive trial experience.  The lawyers of AutoAccident.com believe that negligent property owners should be held responsible when their negligence results in a hazardous condition that causes injuries or death.

If you or a family member were injured by a tree falling on private or public/government property, call us for assistance.  It is important to act quickly to preserve evidence.  If you sustained injuries on government/public-owned land, the time limit within which you must act to preserve your rights is very short, a matter of mere months.  

Oakland Trees and Their Danger

Oakland, like much of the rest of Northern California, enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with warm and dry summers.  Strong winds are common.  The combination of dry seasons and significant winds can cause trees and large branches to come crashing to the ground.  

Oakland Tree Accidents - Common Injuries

The four most common street trees in Oakland are:

  • Blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus)
  • California bay (Umbellularia californica)
  • Coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia)
  • Monterey pine (Pinus radiata)

These large trees can cause severe injuries or death if they are not maintained well and fall or drop large limbs.  Falling trees can cause injuries such as:

Potential Monetary Damages in an Oakland Tree Accident Case

Our law firm will provide a no-obligation case evaluation if you were injured by a falling tree.  Depending on the circumstances, we may assist you in recovering monetary compensation for your damages.  Possible avenues of recovery include:

  • Medical expenses already incurred
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost wages, to include future income or loss of earning capacity
  • Pain, suffering, and/or emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • If applicable, your spouse may be eligible for damages due to the negative affect your injuries had on the marital relationship
Oakland Tree Owners

California Civil Code states that the tree trunk location is what determines the owner of a private tree.  If the tree trunk is completely contained within one plot of land, that plot’s owner is also the tree owner.  However, if the tree trunk is spread between adjacent plots of land, the separate landowners own the tree.  

Responsibilities of an Oakland Tree Owner

A private tree owner is legally responsible for the maintenance of their trees.  If the owner knew (or should have known) of a dangerous condition on their property, and did not take measures to remedy the hazard, the owner is responsible if the dangerous condition results in injury to another person.  Therefore, regular tree inspection and maintenance are essential.  It is recommended that homeowners enlist a certified arborist to conduct regular tree maintenance.  Knowledge of how expensive the damages caused by a falling tree could make it easier to justify the cost of such a maintenance service.

Was the Owner Aware of the Danger?

The simplest way to establish negligence on the part of a tree owner is to prove that they had “actual knowledge” of the dangerous condition on their property yet did nothing to remedy it. Sometimes an owner will admit to having actual knowledge, but if the dangerous condition is clearly visible and in plain sight of the owner daily, this is often enough to establish that the owner had actual knowledge of the hazard.  

It is somewhat more complicated to prove “constructive knowledge,” which is a legal concept meaning the owner should have known about the dangerous condition because any reasonable person would have been aware. 

Proving owner negligence is the only way to hold the owner liable (legally responsible) for your monetary damages.  This is another reason that it is crucial to retain a lawyer with experience in tree accident cases.

Damages in a Tree Accident Case - Who Pays?

On private property, the owner is responsible for fixing dangerous conditions on the property.  If owner negligence is established through actual or constructive knowledge, as discussed in the section above, the property owner will be responsible for injuries and damages caused by the dangerous condition.

Insurance adjusters often try to find an exception for tree accidents, claiming they are caused by an “act of God” or an unforeseeable force of nature.  Again, an experienced tree accident attorney can navigate this insurance pitfall.  There are very few circumstances under which such an accident could be called truly unavoidable and only caused by nature's unpredictable force.  Even when a tree falls during a severe storm, some foreseeability can usually be shown, which would mean that neglected maintenance was also a contributing factor.  

Oakland Tree Accident Claims - Time Limits

California personal injury claims must be settled in most cases, or a lawsuit filed, before the second anniversary of the injury.  If the injured person is a minor, the time limit begins once the minor reaches their 18th birthday.  

If the tree accident occurred on government/public property, the time in which the injured person must act to preserve their right to a claim is much shorter, usually only a matter of months.  Once again, retaining a skilled attorney will ensure that you avoid any time limit pitfalls that could affect your right to pursue an injury claim.  

Watch the YouTube video, which documents a massive tree that fell in Oakland a few years ago.

Oakland Tree Accident Lawyer

Hello, and thank you for reading.  I'm Ed Smith, a tree accident lawyer in Oakland, California. Every year, tree accidents result in severe injuries and even deaths.  If you or anyone you love sustained injuries caused by a falling tree, please reach out to us for free and friendly advice at (510) 631-0200 or (800) 404-5400. 

Image by Markus Distelrath from Pixabay 

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