If a tree fell on a calm night due to being rotten at the base and totaled my truck, since the tree is on the village’s property is it liable?

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If a tree fell on a calm night due to being rotten at the base and totaled my truck, since the tree is on the village’s property is it liable?

Asked on June 11, 2013 under Accident Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

They would only be liable if at fault; they would only be at fault if they were negligent, or unreasonably careless; they would only be negligent if they knew, or had good reason to know, that the tree was rotten but knowing that, still failed to take action. If someone had reported the tree as being rotten; or the tree was in a place they regularly had staff/employees visit/inspect/etc. *and* it's rottenness would have been visually obvious, you may be able to hold them liable; on the other hand, if there was no report of a risk and the tree, at a glance would not appear rotten (or it was located in a place where it would be unreasonable to think village staff would inspect it), then you most likely cannot hold them liable.


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