When the city tree or large branch from a city tree falls on and damages a private citizen’s property, is the city liable? Understandably, the city insurance company wants to pay out as little as possible, so the city has been told to deny every claim against the city that is submitted. If the city doesn’t follow through on that, then the city’s insurance company may not (or will not) cover the claim. In the liability policy (originally written in 2012) it actually states that if the city does not follow the insurance company’s recommended actions, then the insurance company will not cover the city. By the city denying the claim, it then forces any wounded party to get a lawyer, which in most cases will likely exceed the cost of what might be returned by the insurance company.
If one did decide to hire a lawyer, then the lawyer would have to prove negligence on the part of the city, which means that there needs to be proof that the city was informed of; or knew of the dangerous condition, but did not take action to correct it. Furthermore, under most weather-related damages the city’s lawyers will claim that it was an “act of God” and therefore, the city is exempt from any liability. The good news is that if the citizen informs the city, that a tree or large branches from it has fallen on the citizen’s property, then the city will come out, assess the situation, and normally remove the city tree or large branches that have fallen on the property. All other debris is homeowners’ or business owners’ responsibility, but it has been a policy of the city that after a major storm, like the one’s that occurred recently, that if citizens place the broken limbs on the curb the day following the storm, then the city will pick them up; whereas, normal brush and leaf pick up is limited to specified times during the spring and fall.
Storm Damage August 25
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