Recently a tree fell on my car and the owners of the property are ignoring me and will not give me their insurance information.

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Recently a tree fell on my car and the owners of the property are ignoring me and will not give me their insurance information.

My insurance is saying that I have to first pay the comprehensive deduct to get the damages repaired on my vehicle in order for them to pursue the party at fault. Do I have a case?

Asked on September 30, 2015 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It's not clear that the property owners are liable. Liability, or the obligation to pay, depends on fault fault depends on having done something wrong. If there was reason to know or believe that this tree posed a hazard--e.g. it was obviously sick, dead, leaning over, etc.--and despite that, the owners failed to take reasonable action e.g. getting it trimmed back or cut down, that failure to take action could make them liable.
On the other hand, if there was no reason to think the tree posed a hazard, and it was simply an unusually strong storm, or a bolt of lightning, or greatly prolonged rains loosening the soil which caused it to fall, the owners would most likely not be liable, because in that case, they did nothing wrong.


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