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Liability for Damage Caused by Fallen Trees in Florida

What Happens If Your Tree Damages the Neighbor’s Home or Property?

Trees abound in Florida, with numerous species of palms, oaks, and pine trees growing several feet into the air.  While Floridians tend to love their trees and landscaping, disputes may arise if your tree causes damage to a neighboring property.  Our Miami homeowners’ insurance attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano have witnessed numerous falling tree arguments.  We understand that homeowners’ insurance claims for falling trees can be complex and will fight to see that our clients obtain the coverage they deserve.

Responsibilities for Tree Overgrowth

Homeowners may wonder, who is responsible for the damages that result from overgrown tree branches or roots?  The early case of Gallo v. Heller answers this question.  In the case, Gallo sued his neighbor claiming that several of Heller’s trees were causing damage to Gallo’s property.  The Third District Court of Appeal held that Gallo could not recover damages from Heller for the encroachment of his trees, but he could take the measures necessary to trim or cut any infringing roots that ended up on Gallo’s property. 

This longstanding legal principle still stands.  If your neighbor’s tree is encroaching on your property and causing damage or threatening to inflict damages, you can take steps to trim it or cut unruly roots.  If your living tree happens to fall on the neighbor’s property, you will not be liable.  Your neighbor may be able to seek coverage through their homeowners’ insurance policy, but your policy will not be implicated.

However, an exception exists for dead trees or plants.  Generally, if you have a tree on your property that dies, it is your responsible to eliminate the tree.  If you fail to do so and the tree falls on your neighbor’s property, damaging it, you may be liable.  Your homeowners’ insurance policy will likely cover any damages stemming from the fallen tree.

Homeowners should take steps to ensure their property is in reasonably safe condition, which often includes trimming trees, filling in holes, repairing holes in the pavement, and more.  These simple routine repairs may save you from dealing with personal injuries or injuries to friends and relatives.  It is important that you understand that if a condition on your property results in damage to another, your homeowners’ insurance policy should apply.  Homeowners’ insurance provides the peace of mind most homeowners need.

Filing a homeowners’ insurance claim for tree or other damage is never an easy process. It will require documentation, phone calls, and at times even disputes as to the terms of your insurance policy.  Retain the assistance of our South Florida homeowners’ insurance attorneys for experienced help with your claim.

Contact the South Florida Homeowners’ Insurance Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation!

Large trees are beautiful, but can potentially inflict serious damages.  If your property has been damaged by a tree, contact the Miami Homeowners’ Insurance Lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano.  Our experienced homeowners’ insurance attorneys assist homeowners like you across the state of Florida.  At Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, we bring over 130 years of combined professional experience to your case.  Our attorneys will aggressively fight to see that you obtain the financial compensation you deserve for your property damage.   Our firm received the honor of receiving an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and was named a Top South Florida Law Firm by the Miami Herald.  Call us today at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 to schedule your free consultation.  You can also contact us online.

 

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