Can I sue my neighbor for losses if their dead tree fell and hit my home?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I sue my neighbor for losses if their dead tree fell and hit my home?

My neighbor’s dead tree (there is photographic evidence) fell and hit my home causing property damage. My homeowners insurance has a $1,000 deductible. I have requested that the insurance company pursue subrogation for losses including my the deductible. If they are not successful in recovering my losses, can I still sue my neighbor for reimbursement?

Note I live in New Jersey.

Asked on October 15, 2018 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

IF the insurer pursues subrogation and loses, you could not then pursue your own case: the finding of no liability on your neighbor's part against your insurer would be binding against you, too, under the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel (you cannot relitigate what has already been determined by a court).
If they don't pursue subrogation, or do and win but don't pursue it as to the deductible, you could sue (e.g. in small claims court, as your own attorney or "pro se") for the deductible. If, as you indicate, it was visibly obvious that the tree was dead and hence posed a higher-than-normal risk of falling, the neighbor's failure to deal with an obvious and enhanced risk (such as by cutting it down) would likely be considered negligent and entitle you to compensation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption