As the leaves change colors and begin to fall, it may be time to trim some of those trees in preparation for the winter months. Tree-trimming can keep branches, and the like, off of your rooftop and prevent electrical lines from damage.
But what happens if a neighbor either unwittingly, or intentionally cuts down a tree, or part of a tree that is on your property.
If that should happen and a tree is cut down or otherwise adversely affected, then the one doing the cutting will have to reimburse you for any damages.
However, the burden of proof remains with the tree/property owner. You must prove that the property is indeed yours, and you must offer proof of damages in order to recover money for said damages.
What counts as damage to your tree? Cutting down a tree is only part of the damage, and a neighbor does not have to only cut down the tree for you to have damage.
For instance, your neighbor is trimming a tree that is partially on your property. Then you ask the question – was I, or anyone/anything else on my property damaged during the trimming?
Can a tree owner recover more than actual losses caused by tree damage? The following will help you know what you may and may not recover.
Diminished Property Value: If replacing your tree is impossible, then you may recover damages for the cost of the tree.
The Cost of Replacing the Tree: This would include the cost of replacing the tree and cleanup.
Out-of-Pocket Expenses: This may include the cost to replace an injured tree, or to remove a dead one.
Can You Recover for More Than Just Actual Damages: States have different laws concerning additional damages. You may or may not be able to recover additional damages if your neighbor intentionally destroys a tree.
Most importantly, consult with an attorney if you and your neighbor cannot come to a reasonable settlement.
If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.