When your neighbor’s 100-foot tree crashes down onto your house, there is much to be done to get life and your home back to normal. When the adrenaline and nerves settle, you’ll need to know what to do next to quickly and safely resolve the situation.
Within greater Atlanta, trees fall pretty frequently. When one lands on a house, immediate action must be taken to prevent further damage and determine who is responsible.
Neighbor’s trees that have fallen on homes is something 72 Tree service has had more than 45 years of experience in mitigating, and in this article lay out exactly the steps and factors you should consider.
Similar to a fire or flood, it should be treated as an emergency when a tree crashes down on your home. Fast action is required, and the following steps will help you keep everyone safe while getting your home and life back to normal:
1 – Evacuate the property! Get everyone (including pets) out of the house. Gas, water lines, and electrical systems can be severely damaged creating a fire, explosion, or electrocution hazard.
If the tree damaged any vital home systems, and it is not safe to return to the home, get your loved ones to a safe location until after the repairs.
2 – Call 9-1-1 or Respective Emergency Services, to report the incident if your neighbor’s tree:
• Inflicted any injuries or caused any fatalities
• Crossed power lines or damaged utilities before falling on your home, or
• Threatens pedestrians or is blocking the flow of traffic
In such cases, an emergency dispatcher is able to mobilize Medical Services, utilities, a power company unit, or other necessary departments to ensure your and the public’s safety.
Visit 72tree.com/power-line-interfering-trees-city-alpharetta-ga-ordinance/ for non-emergent interfering power lines.
3 – Turn the power off immediately if you smell gas, or water is coming through the roof or from broken pipes. Next locate and turn off the gas and/or water main.
This is a dangerous situation because a spark can cause an explosion from a gas leak, or you could be electrocuted if water comes in contact with live electrical wires.
4 – Document everything that is taking place! Take pictures of the tree and all related damages. This will help you in supporting your case and recovering your settlement when filing an insurance claim.
5 – Contact your homeowner’s insurance provider to report the situation, and follow their instructions (not doing so will potentially void your policy).
6 – Contract a 24-hour emergency tree removal company and certified arborist to remove the tree, and assess whether or not the tree was diseased, dead or dying before it fell.
Depending on the location of the fallen tree and degree of difficulty in accessing it, be sure to contract a tree service that has the skills, experience, tools and equipment (bucket truck, crane, etc.) to get the job done efficiently and safely.
Watch this Roswell removal team to see the correct process of using a crane to remove a fallen tree.
7 – Contract a 24-hour roofing company to inspect damages, tarp, and repair or replace your roof.
8 – Contract a 24-hour plumber if you have any visible leaks or broken pipes that must be repaired. Otherwise, during regular hours contact a plumber to examine your home’s plumbing system for any unseen or concerning collateral damage.
This is an essential step. The jolt of a tree crashing into your home has the potential to disturb and damage the plumbing throughout, and even on the opposite side of the house.
9 – Contract a 24-hour emergency water removal company if water is flooding your home from a storm or broken pipe(s). It is a top priority to cleanup and extract any water from causing further structural damage, or causing a future issue with mold.
Your House – When your neighbor’s tree falls on your house, there will be apparent damages to the landing area. This type of impact will typically result in hidden structural, electrical, and plumbing problems throughout the house.
Your Neighbor’s Tree – The state of the tree before it fell is of the utmost importance, and the following scenarios will illustrate why:
Scenario #1 (Your Liability) – If your neighbor’s tree was healthy and thriving when it was uprooted, broken, or blown over by severe weather, it is your own homeowner’s insurance policy that will cover damages to your home.
Scenario #2 (Their Liability) – If it is determined and documented by a certified arborist that your neighbor’s tree was diseased, dying, or dead when the event occurred, your neighbor may be held fully responsible for all damages when the following conditions are true:
• In the State of Georgia, the tree owner can be held liable for damages and injuries resulting from the tree’s falling, only if he or she had preexisting knowledge of the tree being dead, dying, or diseased. If there were no apparent reasons for concern (no visible signs of trouble) or no documentation stating otherwise, the tree owner (your neighbor) could not be considered at fault.
• When it can be proven in written form that an arborist, neighbor, tenant, city employee, or other third party identified and reported to the neighbor the existence of a problem before the tree fell, this constitutes preexisting knowledge on the part of the tree owner.
Adjacent Trees – When a tree is uprooted during a storm, be cautious of the trees close to it. Trees growing close together will often rely on each other’s roots to anchor themselves, and when one of those trees falls, the trees around it may become destabilized and fall as well.
The Insurance Company – Some insurance policies can be complicated and confusing, but if the tree damaged a structure on your property – once you have met your deductible and have not exhausted the total coverage limits of your policy – your insurance provider may be liable to pay for damages up to your coverage limits.
The emergency removal company you contract should specialize in large loss claims, and support your efforts in working with your insurance company. 72 Tree has successfully mitigated insurance claims for over 45 years, working with most platinum insurance companies and insurance adjusters to quickly return your life and home to normal.
Knowing what to do when your neighbor’s tree falls on your home will help you focus on what needs to get done vs. who is to blame. Being able to mobilize the right services quickly will help keep stress levels under control, and allow you to get on track to returning life to normal.
Once your neighbor’s tree (or any tree for that matter) falls on your home, fast action is essential. Move your loved ones to a safe location, call 9-1-1 if needed, and contact your homeowner’s insurance provider. Then, contract a trusted emergency tree removal company, a roofing company with a contractor that can inspect the home’s entire physical structure for collateral damages, and a plumber to look for and repair any pipe ruptures or hidden leaks from the impact.
When your neighbor’s tree falls on your home, protect yourself and your assets by taking swift action. Delays or procrastination can become costly problems, potentially voiding your homeowner’s insurance policy while exacerbating damages to your home and property.