Trees may not grow on highways or residential streets, but they can definitely be the cause of car accidents. Many people get hurt or experience property damage and loss because they get into crashes that involve hitting trees or swerving around trees.
What happens when a tree causes a person to crash? The answer can depend upon many factors, including why the accident happened, whether a party is at fault, and the type of insurance possessed by the victim.
In general, people commonly report two basic types of tree-linked accidents. The first involves a tree falling on the vehicle. The tree may be on the victim’s own property, a neighbor’s property, a stranger’s property, a business-owned property, or a government-owned property. If no one was in the car at the time of the tree falling down, damages will be limited to how damaged the car is. If people were in the car, damages may include medical bills.
Another tree-related crash can occur when trees fall onto roadways. Sometimes, drivers have no means of adequately slowing or stopping before encountering the fallen tree. In response, the drivers may hit the tree, run over the tree, or swerve to avoid it. The driver’s split-second decision can lead to collisions with the tree, with other moving or parked vehicles, or with a property.
Determining fault for an accident involving a fallen tree can be tricky. If a healthy tree fell because of a tornadic gust of wind that no one could have anticipated, no one would be deemed at fault.
On the other hand, if the tree fell because it was diseased and rotten and the property owner had not addressed the problems, the property owner could be considered negligent and therefore at fault.
Normally, investigations into negligence and tree-related car accidents take many instances into account. In order to prove negligence, a plaintiff must show that the rightful owner of the tree had prior knowledge that the tree posed a hazard to drivers.
When people pay for auto insurance, they may opt into comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage will typically pay for most types of tree-related accidents. Policyholders pay for the deductible, and the comprehensive coverage covers up to a certain damage amount.
If someone does not have comprehensive coverage, he or she will be unlikely to recover any money from the insurance carrier to help replace or repair a car that is damaged because of a falling or fallen tree. This does not mean that someone without comprehensive coverage has no recourse. If someone else is at fault for the tree falling, the at-fault party’s insurance may cover damage to the vehicle.
Tree-related accidents are not just annoying, they can be deadly. Drivers and passengers have been killed due to falling trees and tree limbs. Others have suffered serious injuries while traveling or sitting in their vehicles.
Suffering any type of personal injury can lead to expensive medical bills and a lifetime of health concerns. For that reason, anyone who has experienced a significant property loss or mounting health care costs due to a tree-related accident may want to contact a car accident lawyer. An experienced attorney can help victims determine if their cases warrant pursuit of a personal injury lawsuit. A lawyer may also be able to negotiate stronger settlements from the at-fault party’s insurance provider in the case of negligence.
Were you hurt in a car accident because of a fallen tree? If so, contact one of our West Chester car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. today. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 610-565-3701. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we help injured car accident victims throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.
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We want to assure everyone that during this unprecedented and difficult time, we are still operating and will continue to meet all the legal needs of the residents of the Delaware Valley. While the Governor’s recent orders have restricted the operations of some businesses, Eckell Sparks has deployed a variety of applications and hardware that allows both our attorneys and our support staff to confer with clients remotely, provide consultations to those seeking legal advice, and continue to provide the high level of legal services to our clients as we have always done. For more than 50 years, our Firm has been a force in the Delaware Valley legal community. And by now also leveraging technology, we will continue to do so both during, and after, the current public health emergency.
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