Tragedy struck a Mother’s Day barbecue in New Jersey when a tree crashed down, striking six people. Five of the victims were injured, while a 28-year-old father of two died. The tree was knocked down by a storm that suddenly arose. Other trees as well as power lines were brought down in the storm as well.
Is Anyone Liable When Trees Fall and Cause Injury?
Did you know that there are more trees in the United States now than there were 100 years ago? Falling tree fatalities and injuries are much more common than you might think. Every year, approximately 100 people die when trees fall on them, and many more suffer serious injury.
If you or a loved one have been hurt or killed by a falling tree, you might wonder if you can sue a property owner for damages. Sometimes, you can. To win a case involving a fallen tree, you must prove that the property owner where the tree was located breached his or her duty of care to you as a visitor or resident. You will then need to prove that your injuries were a foreseeable and likely result of the breach of care.
Property owners in New Jersey owe a duty of care to visitors and others with regards to the condition of the land that they own. So, if a property owner fails to maintain a tree and it is likely or foreseeable that the tree will fall, the owner could be held liable.
However, in situations like the above, where the tree was knocked down by severe weather, it is a bit more difficult to try and claim that a property owner is liable. Act of God provisions (also called Force Majeure) limit liability for injuries and other losses resulting from events like severe weather.
If you suffer injury due to a fallen tree, your first phone call after seeking medical attention should be to a qualified personal injury attorney. Attorneys have the resources to conduct investigations of the conditions leading to a tree fall to determine whether you have an injury claim.