Look Up! Falling Trees & Who’s Responsible When a Falling Tree Injures Someone

falling tree injuries fallen palm trees

In 2012, San Diego resident Michael Burke was awarded $7.6 million from the city after a fallen palm tree left him paralyzed. (NBC7 San Diego). The massive settlement blamed the city for the fall due to improper inspections. Burke urged the city to take steps to ensure trimming and inspections of palm trees.


When tree limbs or even whole trees fall, the damage caused can be catastrophic. Unfortunately, the larger the tree and its limbs are meaning even more damage and injury is likely to occur. The state of California is also home to some of the largest trees in the nation. There have been countless victims like Michael Burke who have been injured by a fallen tree.

Who’s to Blame for Falling Trees?

The party or parties at fault for falling trees are most commonly the property owner of the land where the fallen tree is. That party can either be a private homeowner or a government entity. In Burkes case, the City of San Diego was at fault for his injuries because the tree was on city property and therefore, it should have been maintained by the City.


Either the government or a private homeowner must have been negligent in their conduct in order to hold them liable in court. In other words, the tree falling must have been caused by the parties negligent acts. Some examples of how a party would be negligent include:

Proving a Falling Tree Lawsuit

Sometimes falling trees are uncontrollable and unavoidable, when severe storms or weather conditions occur no one is to blame. However, when there is someone to blame or there is negligent conduct, getting compensation for your injuries is possible.


When a tree or a tree limb falls and causes injury, it is considered a premises liability lawsuit. Premises liability cases are essentially cases where a landowner has liability for certain injuries that occur on their property.


In order to have a successful a tree falling premises liability claim, you must prove the following:

If you or someone you know has been involved in a tree falling case or any other premises liability situation, please reach out to Hariri Law Group for a free consultation to discuss the details of your claim. Speaking to one of our experienced attorneys will ensure that your claim is handled with diligence and that you receive the compensation you deserve.

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