Whilst attendances at accident & emergency as a result of injuries sustained by falling trees and branches are low, approximately 55 per year, compared to 2.9 million leisure related attendances at accident & emergency during the same year. The extent of damage that can be sustained by a falling tree or branch should never be underestimated. Such incidents can lead to very serious injuries resulting in permanent disabilities and even death. So where do you stand if you or a member of your family are unfortunate enough to be injured by a falling tree or branch?
Responsible Tree Owners
Landowners have a legal duty to take reasonable care to avoid people being injured whilst on their property or by something on their property for which they are responsible, such as a tree. With regard to trees, they are required to follow a formal documented procedure for tree management which includes –
- Assessing the risks which arise from trees on their property. For larger properties, trees should be zoned according to their risk, position and whether they are close to public access. For the average domestic landowner, the only expectation is to react to any obvious dangers identified from visual inspection and not for a formal documented tree management procedure.
- In a public area or an area deemed to be of high risk of injury from falling trees or branches, the owner should have the tree assessed periodically to check for obvious signs that a tree is unstable and could fall or have branches fall.
- If a tree is thought to be unstable and therefore has a risk of causing damage to someone or something, immediate action should be taken to manage and minimize the risk. This could involve removing branches or removing the tree altogether.
To be successful in a claim
We have successfully recovered compensation for people who have been injured by falling trees and branches.
It is necessary to show that that the landowner or party responsible for the tree failed to –
- Carry out the appropriate risk assessment/s of the tree/s which caused the injury.
- Carry out regular visual inspections of the tree/s which caused the injury.
- Deal with the tree/s having identified that there was a problem with the tree/s stability.
In order to assist investigations, it is useful to take clear colour photographs of the tree and/or branch as soon as possible and to make a note of exactly where it is.
How we can help
We are experienced in dealing with injuries and damage sustained as a result of falling trees or branches. If you or a family member have been involved in an accident in the past three years then contact us on 0800 213 214 or complete our simple on line enquiry form to discuss claiming compensation.