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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    3

    Default Acorns from Neighbor's Tree Damaged My Car

    Our neighbor has a huge white oak tree that has several branches over hanging our drive way. This year the tree produced an abnormal amount of acorns that fell on our car and dented the hood very badly. We have placed a claim to our insurance (loss claim). Can we ask (and enforce) the neighbor to cut the branches that over hang our drive way? They don't seem to care much about their property and might not want to do it. We live in Maryland (in case this is relevant). Many thanks for any suggestion/advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: Acorns from Neighbor's Tree Damaged My Car

    Quote Quoting Frank G
    View Post
    Our neighbor has a huge white oak tree that has several branches over hanging our drive way. This year the tree produced an abnormal amount of acorns that fell on our car and dented the hood very badly. We have placed a claim to our insurance (loss claim). Can we ask (and enforce) the neighbor to cut the branches that over hang our drive way? They don't seem to care much about their property and might not want to do it. We live in Maryland (in case this is relevant). Many thanks for any suggestion/advice.
    This is generally the law re a tree owned by a neighbor: Leaves, bean pods, or acorns which fall off and end up on adjacent property are considered a natural occurrence and are the responsibility of the landowner on whose property they ultimately come to rest.

    You might ask the owner of the tree if he would allow you to trim the branches that are over hanging your driveway.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Re: Acorns from Neighbor's Tree Damaged My Car

    It's not a legal authority, but according to a recent article in the Washington Post:
    Quote Quoting The Massachusetts rule.
    Before [recent changes], Virginia followed a variation on what is called the Massachusetts rule, which holds that a property owner's right to protect his property from the encroaching roots and boughs of a neighbor's tree is limited to self-help. In other words, the property owner has the absolute right to trim the branches and cut the roots, but only on his own property. He cannot enter the tree owner's property, and he cannot sue the tree owner.

    * * *

    As noted above, even if a tree damages the neighbor's property, that neighbor is limited to self-help. That is his only remedy. Some judges have called this rule the "law of the jungle." In one Tennessee case, the judge wrote, "Self-help effectively replaces the law of orderly judicial process as the only way to adjust the rights and responsibilities of disputing neighbors."

    For all practical purposes, Maryland and the District follow this rule.

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