January 26, 2024
Can a Fallen Tree Cause a Car Accident?
Trees fall down for many reasons, like weak roots, lightning strikes, and being blown over in storms. When they are next to roads and this happens, anyone unfortunate enough to be driving by could get into a very serious accident. A fallen tree can certainly cause a car accident, but who can be held responsible for the injuries and damages?
Will My Car Insurance Company Pay for My Damages?
In Pennsylvania, the minimum liability limits for auto insurance are:
- Bodily injury: $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident
- Property damage: $5,000
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident
When a tree falls onto a vehicle, and the owner makes an auto insurance claim, the policy’s comprehensive coverage may also apply. However, many policy owners waive the comprehensive coverage and are not eligible for compensation after fallen tree accidents.
Who Is Liable for My Injuries and Damages From a Fallen Tree Accident?
The answer to this depends on the circumstances. Motor vehicle accident claims usually involve one or more drivers, and insurance companies try to determine fault. With fallen trees, third-party liability often comes into play because of outside factors like high winds and property owners.
If the tree was owned and maintained on private or public property, those parties might be liable; poorly maintained trees can fall over when not cared for. A tree owner might be sued for negligence if their failure to maintain a tree resulted in property damage or injuries.
Things become more complicated if the tree is on a property owned by a federal, state, or local government agency. Although certain government entities cannot be sued for negligence because of immunity laws, that is not always the case. Citizens may be able to sue for damages related to negligence, but there are detailed special procedures, time limits, and monetary caps.
How Can I File a Claim for a Fallen Tree Accident?
After the accident, document the incident by taking photos of the scene. Call for help first, then snap pictures of the fallen tree, focusing on any evidence showing why it happened – an example might be exposed rotted roots. Include photos of your vehicle’s damage and any injuries you and your passengers may have experienced.
Report the accident to your insurance provider and explain how it happened. If the fallen tree belongs to a neighbor, let them know about it. In cases where the tree was on public property, contact the local authorities or local municipality.
If the insurance company or third party does not offer acceptable compensation for your claim, a car accident lawyer can help you negotiate a fair settlement. They would act as your liaison, handling the paperwork, phone calls, emails, and evidence gathering.
A Lansdale Car Accident Lawyer at the Law Firm of Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Can Help You After a Crash
When falling on a car, a large tree can cause significant injuries and property damage. If you need legal help, contact a Lansdale car accident lawyer at the law firm of Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. We offer free consultations. Complete our online form or call 267-861-7100 today. Located in Philadelphia and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Chester County, and Norristown.