Over the next several weeks, crews in Newport Beach will be replacing the eucalyptus trees along Irvine Avenue with date palms and African tulips—a move which comes a little over a year after a local resident was crushed in her car by a 75-foot tree. Following the fatal accident, the woman’s parents sued Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, and the tree maintenance company which was responsible for looking after the plants in the median.
A Freak Accident or a Preventable Accident?
Far too often, falling tree accidents are seen as freak accidents: simply a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, in many cases, a falling tree isn’t simply an Act of God or just bad luck—these accidents may have been prevented.
After a falling tree accident, it is important to discover who owns the property where the tree fell, whether the trees on the property were properly maintained, and whether the tree was showing signs of falling, such as:
• A rotting trunk
• A history of falling branches
• An obvious insect infestation
• A dangerous and increasing lean or tilt
• Exposed roots
• Unstable ground surrounding the tree
Next, it is important to establish who was in charge of caring for the tree and whether they were aware of the tree posing a danger to the public. In some cases, a property owner may be found negligent. In other cases, a tree maintenance company or landscaping company may be found negligent.
In recent years, many cities across the country, including Newport Beach, have taken steps to ensure that large trees in public areas are checked often for dangers. New York City has taken several measures to eliminate dangerous elms, maples, and oaks after being hit with numerous personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits stemming from falling trees. And, in Newport Beach, safe and easy to maintain trees have been planted on Superior Avenue, Irvine Avenue, Westcliff Drive, the East Coast Highway and Avocado Avenue. However, while some cities have acted, others do not do enough to protect their citizens.
Orange County Premises Liability Attorney
Property owners have a responsibility to keep visitors on their land reasonably safe. If you were injured by a falling tree, or if a loved one has been killed in a falling tree accident, it might not have been a “freak” occurrence. You might deserve compensation. Call the California accident attorneys at Russell & Lazarus today to learn more.