A town-owned tree fell on my car - town says they're not responsible
August 10, 2014 6:46 PM Subscribe
A large tree across the street fell on my car while I was sleeping and did a fair amount of damage. After getting two repair estimates as requested, the town's insurance company decided they have no responsibility as they didn't have prior knowledge of any problems with the tree. Is this the end of the story?
posted by FlyByDay to Law & Government (11 answers total)
A large tree across the street fell on my car while I was sleeping. This was not during a storm; the tree apparently was cracked or old. It fell across the street and onto my car, which was parked next to my house (where I rent). The town removed the tree from my car (and the street) with some massive equipment and only a stump is left. But the tree left many scratches and some dents on my car. Had it not fallen on my car, it would have fallen on the house.
I was told to go the town selectman's office, and there I was asked to get two damage estimates, which I did and were sent to the town's insurance company. The woman at the selectman's office warned me that they might just call it an "act of God" and deny responsibility. I asked if the town would cover my deductible if that happened ($300) and we would just go through my insurance. She said no, as that would "set a precedent". And not surprisingly, the town's insurance company decided they have no responsibility as they didn't have prior knowledge of any problems with the tree and that noone told them that there were issues with the tree beforehand. Case closed as far as they are concerned.
Apparently my landlord noticed the crack in the tree before it fell, as did the people who live across the street. However, they never mentioned it to anyone and I never noticed it. My landlord is checking with his homeowner's insurance to see if this is something they would cover, but so far he hasn't gotten a response.
So, am I stuck with the deductible, or a scratched up car? It seems odd to me that someone could say, "Well, you didn't tell me my property was cracked and potentially dangerous, so therefore we deny any responsibility", but that's what's happened. Is that normal? Is there anything I can do?