A question we’re asked on occasion is ‘If my tree causes damage or injury, can I be sued? The short answer is yes. If you are deemed negligent!
Tree owners have a general duty of care under the law. You may be considered negligent if you fail to act when the potential for harm was foreseeable. Or if you ignored a warning about the tree.
Evaluating the danger a tree presents, whether by its state of health or by its situation, is called Tree Risk Assessment. Some of most common problems are:
• Tree’s growing too big for their surroundings, and branches reach overhead cables, or windows, or buildings.
• When the join between branch and trunk is under stress and gives way.
• Roots are damaged by erosion, disease or construction work, causing the tree to become unstable.
• Natural aging or disease.
Catastrophic failure of a tree or tree branches often occurs at a time of extreme weather conditions. Especially storm-force winds. Autumn is the best time of year to perform a preventative tree inspection, ahead of winter storms. As trees should be checked after any major storm to look for signs of damage and impending trouble.
Tree Risk Assessments can be performed by the tree owner. But if any concerns arise, then a professional Tree Surgeon should be consulted. A history of obtaining formal tree inspection reports is excellent protection against any liability claims.
Owners of trees have another legal obligation too! It is an offence to disturb nesting wild birds. As well as other wildlife that have rights of occupancy too. So beware the time of year you choose to do any tree work. Again, if in doubt, Contact a Tree Surgeon for advice.
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Our qualified team of experienced Arborists offer sustainable and cost-effective forestry and arboriculture services. For the long-term health and success of your trees. From small urban gardens, large estates and anything in between.