Expert Advice: Who is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Michigan?

December 16, 2022

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If you’re a property owner, you might ask who is responsible for the fallen tree removal in Michigan. This is a vital question! Property owners are sometimes accountable for damage caused by trees on their property, but not always. In some cases, a property owner might need to self-help, meaning they’re responsible for damage caused by a neighbor’s tree.

Always consult with an attorney when you need legal advice about any issue. In the meantime, consider some general information about trees and property owner liability. This can help you decide what to do about a tree on your property. It can also help you know what to do if someone else’s tree lands on your property!

who is responsible for fallen tree removal in michigan

Who is Responsible for Fallen Tree Removal in Michigan?

First, note that the law considers whether a property owner knew a tree or branch was risking damage. If it’s reasonable to conclude that a property owner knew the tree risked injury, they might be liable for repairs.

For example, suppose you notice a tree on your neighbor’s property with damaged branches hanging over your garage. You might write a note to your neighbor, asking them to prune back those branches. However, suppose they don’t cut those branches, which then fall during a storm, damaging the garage roof. In that case, a court might conclude that the neighbor knew the risk and should have addressed it.

However, this isn’t a “hard and fast” rule. In most cases, your insurance carrier is responsible for covering the cost of damages to your property minus your deductible. This is especially true if the neighbor had no warning that a tree or tree branch might fall.

Also, even if you think the neighbor should have known about that tree’s risks, your insurance policy still covers such damage. These situations are typically called an “act of god,” meaning the property owner is not responsible for what happened. They didn’t cause the tree to fall, so they’re not liable for the damages it causes, at least in most cases.

This information also explains what happens if a tree on your property falls on a neighbor’s home or car. In most cases, their insurance policy covers the cost of damages minus their deductible. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should ignore dangerous trees on your property! Remember that a falling tree or branch can also risk injury or even death to anyone in the vicinity. For everyone’s safety, prune or even remove damaged or otherwise dangerous trees on your lot. We hope you won't need fallen tree removal in MI.

Trees on Public Property: Who is Responsible?

Typically, a city or municipality is responsible for trees on their property. For instance, the state normally takes care of trees in state parks or along state highways. However, some cities or counties expect adjacent property owners to manage those trees.

For instance, you might be responsible for trimming branches of trees directly in front of your home. You might also be accountable for pruning branches over your property or the sidewalk in front of your home. Also, your property insurance is still responsible for damages caused by a falling tree owned by the city or state.

However, check with your city or county before trimming or removing these trees. It’s especially vital to do that if branches encroach on overhead power lines. The city or county might contract with a tree service to trim away those branches. Also, property owners typically cannot remove a tree without a permit, even from their property, much less the city’s. In turn, always check with the city or county before performing any work on trees on public land.

fallen tree removal service by an arborist

What Happens If My Neighbor’s Tree Falls on My House?

In the case of any fallen tree, safety is always your primary concern! Don’t go near the tree until you’ve called the local power company to check for downed lines. A leaning tree could also snap without warning, risking injury.

Next, call your property owner’s insurance to state the problem and ask about their procedure. For instance, they might send someone to take downed tree photos. Even so, it’s helpful for property owners to photograph the area themselves. This ensures your policy will cover the damages!

Ann Arbor Tree Trimming & Removal Service is happy to help answer the question, who is responsible for fallen tree removal in Michigan? Hopefully, it’s informative and valuable. Call our Ann Arbor tree services contractors if you’re in the market for expert services. We provide FREE quotes and guaranteed pruning, removal, and more. So to get your property started, call us today.

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