Tree woman was worried about falls on her deck; who foots the bill?

Who is responsible for a fallen tree?

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A common legal question played out in a real-life drama in Henrico County.

Nakita Lynch had been complaining about a tree in her neighbor’s yard she was worried would fall and cause damage. Well, Thursday, that’s exactly what happened.

“I’m so glad I wasn’t outside because I usually come out on the deck just to look around," Lynch said. "The way it hit, it probably would have hurt us. The way it fell it probably would have hurt us very bad, very bad.”

Lynch had not complained to her neighbor about the tree because a different tree in that same neighbor’s yard had fallen two years ago and bad blood over that incident has led them to no longer speak with one another.

“She just stopped speaking to me so that’s why I never said anything to her about the tree,” Lynch said.

(Source: NBC12)

There is recourse for homeowners who suffer damage from a neighbor’s tree, but they have to be proactive and document their concerns before the damage occurs.

“Had she given notice to the other property owner that the tree posed a risk to her property and had it documented, potentially she could collect under that lady’s liability insurance or be reimbursed for her damages,” State Farm Insurance agent Michael Fisher said.

Fisher is not associated with Lynch’s insurance provider, but offered analysis regarding similar incidents.

“At this point, it’s going to be filed under her insurance as a deductible to pay,” Fisher said. “Until her insurance company can collect from the other carriers, unfortunately she is probably out of her deductible.”

Lynch did not send her neighbor a registered letter, but said she did report the dead tree to her insurance company many times. She’s hoping that counts for something.

“I was worried about it falling on my house while me and my kids were inside,” Lynch said. “They said there was nothing they can do until it fell on my house, basically.”

Some things to remember are that you can legally trim limbs that hang over your yard, even if the tree is not on your property. If a neighbor’s tree fall in your yard, you are responsible for removing the portion that is on your property, and it may come at your own expense because insurance companies typically only get involved if the fallen tree caused damage.

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