I'm in Virginia.
During a storm this week, a very large limb fell off of the 35-year-old maple tree in the back yard of my townhouse. The base of the limb (about 6 feet of it) is in my backyard, sitting on my fence, which it damaged. The rest of the limb extends all the way across my neighbor's backyard and onto the fence on the other side.
My insurance adjuster has told me that I am only responsible for removal costs for the portion of the limb that is in my yard, and the arborist who came out and left an estimate broke the estimate down accordingly. My removal costs and fence repair costs don't come anywhere near my $1000 deductible. The adjuster told me that the neighbor's insurance policy should cover his costs and damages in this case.
I have told the neighbor, who is a renter, that her landlord is responsible for the cost of removing the limb from her yard, and for the property damage (an old, rusting shed was crushed, along with a patio umbrella). She told me her landlord insists that I must pay the whole cost. We are conversing through her bilingual daughter (middle school age), because we don't speak the same language, and this makes things more difficult. I have given the neighbor my name and phone numbers, and a copy of the arborist's estimate, and was expecting the landlord to contact me, which hasn't happened so far.
My husband says we should go ahead and pay the full cost of removing the limb, which is $265. My fear is that the landlord will then demand property damages, which could get pricey.
If we do pay the entire cost of the limb removal, are we opening ourselves up to liability for damage to the neighbor's property?
We did have the tree trimmed last year by the same arborist to remove limbs that might fall and damage property, so I believe we aren't negligent.
Thank you for any help in this matter.