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Tree Falls Through Roof in Wilmington, Who's Liable?

With all of the wild weather going around, you might be wondering what happens when trees fall and damage property. Unlike when a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, when a tree falls on your house, there is usually quite a ruckus.

That is how Paul Palizzolo explained the sound made when a large branch crashed through his roof and into his bedroom the other day, according to the Boston Globe. Luckily, neither he nor his wife was in room at the time, as it would have likely hit and seriously injured anyone that had been there.

Could anyone be liable for the damage besides homeowners’ insurance?

Liability for property damage depends first on who caused the damage. If there wasn't one person that clearly caused the damage, then you look to who owned the implement that damaged your property. Generally, with real estate damage, the cause of damage is a neighbor's tree or building that fell on your property.

If a neighbor's tree falls on your property, there is no guarantee that it was the neighbor's fault that the tree fell. It depends on whether the tree was healthy and if it was possible for a reasonable person to determine that the tree was not healthy.

This means that if you have a tree that has been slowly leaning further and further towards your neighbor's house that you should probably have it taken down. Likewise, if your tree has signs that it is dying and is weakened, you can be liable if it falls on your neighbor's property.

From the story, it seems like the tree branches that fell were all from the Palizzolo's own property. While they probably don't have a suit against their neighbors, their insurance will probably cover some or all of the damage caused by the storm.

Needless to say, it is good to have insurance on your house because there are still many times that the weather can get you and it's nobody's fault -- but there is still a large tree through your roof.

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