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Fallen Tree Accidents Can Lead to Catastrophic Injuries and Deaths

November 5, 2022
Newsclip of a fallen tree

Trees are vital to our lives because they produce oxygen, provide shade, enhance the scenery, and can be used for various purposes, such as for food, lumber, and paper, among others. Although beneficial, trees can sometimes be hazardous, even fatal, when their branches fall, or an entire tree collapses.

Case in point, last August 16, a 59-year-old woman was killed, and another 72-year-old woman was critically injured after a massive tree collapsed into the swimming pool of an apartment building in the Bronx. Officers say the accident happened around 1:30 pm at 2621 Palisades Avenue, River Terrace Apartments, a 17-story apartment building.

Emergency responders found Donna Douglas, an apartment resident, dead on the scene. The death was accidental and resulted from blunt force trauma to the head. The critically injured woman was transported to the New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital.

The Department of Buildings (DOB) conducted an investigation, issued a partial vacate order of the pool area, and ordered the building owner to remove the collapsed tree as soon as possible. Investigators said that it’s not evident what caused the tree to collapse. Further, an official from the Parks Department stated that the tree was on private property.

Liability for Damages in Fallen Tree Accidents

While most fallen tree accidents occur due to natural forces, some happen because of the inaction or negligent actions of property owners. For instance, improper tree maintenance usually results in overgrown trees that have an increased risk of falling branches or collapsing on innocent bystanders, instantly injuring, or killing them.

Property owners may be held liable for not properly and regularly maintaining their trees, whether or not they are aware that a potentially hazardous condition exists. Various factors can weaken tree branches and trunks that property owners must resolve to prevent accidents. These usually include:

  • Improper tree planning
  • Various tree diseases
  • Incorrect or irregular pruning
  • Weakened root systems
  • Inadequate or poor soil conditions
  • Vermin and insect infestation

Aging, constant rain, heavy snow, and strong winds are also common factors that create potentially dangerous situations that are unavoidable. However, property owners are legally obligated to provide all occupants, visitors, and passersby with a safe environment while they are on their premises. This means that they must monitor the condition of their trees and take quick action to ensure the safety of other people.

The sheer size of a tree and the speed and force of its collapse as it falls to the ground usually cause substantial property damage and injuries to people. When you have been injured in a tree accident that happened on another person or entity’s property, you have the right to pursue financial compensation under the premises liability law.

Consult With a Skilled Bronx Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a fallen tree accident, you deserve to receive fair compensation for your losses. To explore your legal options, reach out to Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman and set up your free case review with our Bronx personal injury attorney by dialing 212-285-3300 or contacting us online.


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