Who's Responsible? - Utah Wildlife Network

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Old 09-16-2020, 02:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Who's Responsible?

Long story short my Moms neighbors spruce tree took out a section of her fence. He rents out the house and claims he's not responsible because it was the winds fault. I have lost a spruce tree years ago do to wind. Insurance claims it was an act of God. But they paid for a fence repair. This landlord is an insurance agent and knows the game. I simply asked i he had plan on what he was going to do about it. He got a little defensive & I told him to settle down and I was just asking if he had a plan. He said he would look into it?? So I asked whats the ethical thing to do?

I'm pretty sure I'll be the one fixing the fence.
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Old 09-16-2020, 02:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'd say that if was a healthy tree and no concerns about it has come up then it's a act of God.

Now the ethical thing to do would be to at least offer to pay for at least half of the fence repair since it does define the property line.

In reality I don't believe that there is any real clear responsibility.

But then I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn last night either

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Old 09-16-2020, 02:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ethical thing...if "act of god" at a minimum I'd split the costs as described if it was my tree and it wasn't in an obvious state of danger. If the tree was clearly in bad shape than I'd probably pay for the whole thing.

Know clue on legal responsibility.
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Old 09-16-2020, 03:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Your mom could file an insurance claim and her insurance would pay and then go after the neighbor's insurance co to be reimbursed. The insurance co may pay for the removal of the tree (or partial payment).

His ins would be the best to go thru, if the tree was on his property- which then his ins would pay for the fence, tree removal and pay a certain amount to replace a tree.

A couple problems may occur. The ins co may depreciate the fence up to or more than 50% of the cost to replace (depending on the age of the fence). The deductible may be too high to warrant a claim.

A decent fellow would file the claim on his own if the tree grew on his property. And a lot of this depends on the insurance they both have.
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Old 09-16-2020, 04:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Your mom could file an insurance claim and her insurance would pay and then go after the neighbor's insurance co to be reimbursed. The insurance co may pay for the removal of the tree (or partial payment).

His ins would be the best to go thru, if the tree was on his property- which then his ins would pay for the fence, tree removal and pay a certain amount to replace a tree.

A couple problems may occur. The ins co may depreciate the fence up to or more than 50% of the cost to replace (depending on the age of the fence). The deductible may be too high to warrant a claim.

A decent fellow would file the claim on his own if the tree grew on his property. And a lot of this depends on the insurance they both have.

I like the decent fellow would file a claim on his own comment. This guy has several properties in town & im sure there is damage on all of them. Being an agent I'm sure he doesn't want to fila a claim because he knows the stats on how his rates will go up. He was cutting up the tree when I had a chat with him. He's a cheap slumlord trying to save a buck.

Mom is 92 and I'd rather not have her have to deal with it although she could lol. I'll be fixing the fence myself I'm sure.

I was just hoping an Ins agent would post up what the proper way to deal with this. Thanks
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Old 09-16-2020, 04:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Just FYI on the claims side. Having lived in an area where claims are made regularly due to weather, rates and number of claims have nothing to do with each other- except for excessive claims within the same year.

I live in hail country, and so my insurance rates are very high due to the risk. Your home insurance rates won't go up because you have a claim. If you have multiple claims you may not be able to switch agencies very easily- as was my case several years ago. I had an insurance company with very competitive rates and the area got hailed out twice in one summer and some people had to have two new roofs in the same summer. Got hailed on right after the new roof installed. That company lost a boatload of money and pulled out, dropping the whole area. I had a flood and roof claim in the same month, and State Farm wouldn't write a policy on my house because of the number of claims.

Home insurance is more of a risk pool. I would anticipate that all homeowners insurance rates will go up next year to compensate for the earthquake and wind events this year. The guy simply doesn't want to make a claim for claim history. But as a landlord, they have insurance and it wouldn't cost him hardly anything. Most contractors will take the deductible off and charge only what insurance pays. I've had to put 2 roofs on and re-side my house 3 times in 13 years due to wind/hail.
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Old 09-16-2020, 08:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Your mothers insurance would be the first step. They will fight it out with the neighbor.
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Your mothers insurance would be the first step. They will fight it out with the neighbor.
agreed. in utah they typically consider the portion of the neighbors tree overhanging your property line to be your responsibility. if you chose to you can cut your neighbors tree straight up the property line before it falls. not really a nice thing to do but legal none the less. not sure what happens when it unbalances the lean/weight and it falls on his house in the next wind event.

let mom's insurance figure it out for you.
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Old 09-16-2020, 10:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Read this: https://www.georgejohnsonins.com/new...#39;s+Property

The tree belongs to the neighbor, IE it’s his personal property. When property is damaged by another person’s property, they are responsible. Period.

Is it a property tort? Might be a waste of your time due to nominal return but since the guy doesn’t actually live next door and only rents it out, it’s not like you’ll have bad blood to worry about every day.

Bottom line, he is responsible
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Old 09-16-2020, 11:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Jerry,
I believe BAX is 100% correct and it were me I would go back and talk to the neighbor again truly believing what BAX said.
A tree causing damage and the owner of the tree being responsible is not unlike a boat owner being responsible for any wake damage from said boat.
I think you will see the slumlord pony up for the repair once he knows his bluff is called.
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