Trees are essential to life because they enrich the atmosphere with oxygen, enhance scenery, provide shade and can be transformed into lumber. While beneficial, trees can be extremely dangerous when branches fall or the entire tree collapses. This is because the force of a falling tree or limb creates enough impact to kill. As a result, injured victims and surviving family members of a loved one killed by a falling tree find justice by filing a tree accident lawsuit.
The United States has more than 700 million acres of dense forest containing hundreds of billions of trees of all different sizes, varieties and ages. In addition to the nation’s forest regions, many small towns and crowded urban and suburban areas are heavily populated with trees.
Falling Tree Injury Liability Under Illinois Law
While many tree accidents are caused by natural forces, some falling tree branches and collapsing trees are weakened by the action or inaction of property owners. Improper tree maintenance can cause trees to quickly become overgrown and cumbersome to the point where innocent bystanders can be injured or killed instantly. Property owners can be held legally liable for negligent maintenance of their trees whether or not they know a potentially dangerous condition exists.
Numerous factors can weaken trees and tree limbs that need to be rectified by the property owner. Some of these factors include:
- Improper tree planting
- Not pruning or incorrect pruning
- Lack of proper soil conditions
- Weakened tree root system
- Insect and vermin infestation
High winds, heavy snow, constant rain and aging are all factors that can create a hazardous situation of falling limbs or toppling trees that are impossible to avoid. The sheer weight of the tree and the speed of its collapse while falling vertically to the ground often produces significant physical damage to humans and property. Victims of tree accidents often suffer substantial injuries that can include:
- Traumatic brain injury and head trauma
- Broken bones and bone fractures
- Crushing injuries that often require amputation
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injury including quadriplegia or paraplegia
- Neck and shoulder injuries
Property owners have a legal responsibility to provide every passerby, visitor, and occupant a safe environment while on the premises. They must monitor any rotten tree and take action to ensure the public remains out of danger. When victims are hurt in a tree accident occurring on another’s property, they have the legal right to seek monetary recovery under premises liability laws.
Premises Liability Laws in Illinois to Protect the Injured
Any individual that has been injured or suffered serious property damage by a falling tree can file a claim or lawsuit for financial compensation from every party responsible for the tree accident. This is true even if the falling tree or tree limb occurred on property owned by federal, state, city or other government entities. However, the victim will likely be required to observe certain legal restrictions and requirements necessary to file suit against a government agency.
Successful premises liability lawsuits require the victim to prove three specific elements of their claim that include:
- Property owners, tenants or occupants knew, or should have known, that a dangerous condition with the tree existed, causing an unreasonable potential risk of harm.
- Property owners, tenants or occupants failed to rectify the problem and neglected to warn others of the condition.
- The victim was unaware that the dangerous condition existed and that it posed significant risks to cause harm.
Choosing the Right Lawyer to Represent Your Interests in a Chicago Tree Collapse Accident Case
If you have suffered injuries by a fallen tree or tree limb, it is important to seek the advice of an attorney who understands the extent of your injuries, the level of your pain and the amount of damages you suffer from the tree accident. A skilled lawyer will use this information to correctly calculate the amount of compensation you deserve in your case.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can help you recover damages from every party at fault for your injuries. The funds you receive in an out-of-court settlement or jury award can help pay your medical expenses, recoup your lost wages, and provide funds for your pain and suffering.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC at (888) 424-5757 have assisted numerous victims of tree accidents in Illinois. We accept these types of Chicago personal injury cases on contingency and serve as your aggressive advocate to ensure a successful resolution to your case.