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  1. #1

    Default Neighbor's Tree Caused Damage to Driveway

    Our neighbor had (she had it removed) a fifty foot pine tree located approx. 3-5 feet from our property line. There were extensive roots from this old tree that unfortunately ran under our concrete driveway and caused it to crack and crumble apart.
    We spoke with her on 2 separate occasions w/o any response. We hired a tree man who came and dug down to sever the root that were running on our property causing damage and also trim all branches that were hanging over the property line (sap is messy on car paint). After the expense of this, a month later she had someone come take the tree down.
    We did take pics of the driveway/root system to show how the damage occured. We asked her to pay 1/2 the repair cost to our driveway. We have never heard from her.
    Do we have any legal rights. Wouldn't her homeowners insurance pay for the damage her tree caused to our property?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,644

    Default Re: Neighbor's Tree Caused Damage to Driveway

    That will depend on what state you are in, and the laws of your state.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Neighbor's Tree Caused Damage to Driveway

    We are in California, San Diego.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,644

    Default Re: Neighbor's Tree Caused Damage to Driveway

    This appears to be a nice overview of the duties of a tree owner in California.
    Quote Quoting When it all goes bad, who pays - and what?
    For the adjoining landowner:
    Generally, the owner of the tree is liable for any actual damages caused by its branches or roots.
    However, an adjoining landowner can recover only the actual money damages sustained as a result of a tree's encroachment on his or her land. Thus, a mere encroachment that does not cause actual damage to an adjoining landowner does not give a right to recover damages.

    For the owner of the tree:
    The owner's recovery is generally limited to the difference between the value of the real property before and after the injury and “never exceed the value of the land prior to the injury.” The owner may alternatively seek to recover the cost of restoring the property to its prior condition, but "only reasonable costs of replacing destroyed trees with identical or substantially similar trees may be recovered." If restoring the land to its prior condition is impossible or impracticable, then "the landowner may recover the value of the trees or shrubbery, either as timber or for their aesthetic qualities, again without regard to the diminution in the value of the land."

    In addition, if an adjoining landowner’s act (of chopping down a tree, cutting off its branches, or ripping out its roots) is willful and malicious, the injured owner may recover treble damages against the wrongdoer.

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