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Old 09-11-2016, 01:43 PM   #1
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Trees on county maintained roads

Has anyone ever tried t recover from damages from trees in and over the roads? I had 2 separate instances this weekend, 1 limb sounded like it took off my search light and AC then the other went all the way down the side from head to toe. Someone should be liable for damages either the county or home owner not the driving down the road between the lines.
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Old 09-11-2016, 01:46 PM   #2
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So you're at no fault for striking a stationary object with your moving vehicle that you're controlling?
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Old 09-11-2016, 02:06 PM   #3
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Call your insurance agent and ask them the question. If the tree is in a position to overhang the road such that it damages passing vehicles, I suspect it's not on a homeowners property, but in a right of way or county property. Let us know what you find out.
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Old 09-11-2016, 02:06 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Tha_Rooster View Post
Has anyone ever tried t recover from damages from trees in and over the roads? I had 2 separate instances this weekend, 1 limb sounded like it took off my search light and AC then the other went all the way down the side from head to toe. Someone should be liable for damages either the county or home owner not the driving down the road between the lines.
It's highly unlikely any local government (either county or township) is going to be held liable for tree limbs overhanging the road. Even in cases where overhanging limbs have caused damage or death the person filing the claim must prove the county is negligent. Negligent is defined as having been notified that a problem exists on at least 2 different occasions and ignoring requests to rectify the problem. Tree trimming is considered a "discretionary function" of the local govermnment as opposed to a policy and planning function.

It's totally out of the question that any property owner can be held liable for anything that happens in the road "right of way".

The standard "right of way" for a county road generally extends a minimum of 20 feet from the edge of the pavement and in some cases as far as 40 feet from the edge of the pavement.

If you think you can prove negligence on the part of the county you might be able to claim damages. However the deck is stacked against you and in all likelihood legal expenses will be greater than any monetary recovery. Counties, Townships, and almost all other government entities do an excellent job in the CYA department
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Old 09-11-2016, 02:25 PM   #5
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Trees on county maintained roads

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Originally Posted by Hikerdogs View Post
It's highly unlikely any local government (either county or township) is going to be held liable for tree limbs overhanging the road. Even in cases where overhanging limbs have caused damage or death the person filing the claim must prove the county is negligent. Negligent is defined as having been notified that a problem exists on at least 2 different occasions and ignoring requests to rectify the problem. Tree trimming is considered a "discretionary function" of the local govermnment as opposed to a policy and planning function.

It's totally out of the question that any property owner can be held liable for anything that happens in the road "right of way".

The standard "right of way" for a county road generally extends a minimum of 20 feet from the edge of the pavement and in some cases as far as 40 feet from the edge of the pavement.

If you think you can prove negligence on the part of the county you might be able to claim damages. However the deck is stacked against you and in all likelihood legal expenses will be greater than any monetary recovery. Counties, Townships, and almost all other government entities do an excellent job in the CYA department

What if the trunk of the tree is in the home owners property not in the right of way?
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Old 09-11-2016, 02:29 PM   #6
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This is all for if your not going through your insurance;

Depending on which roadway is involved in your incidents, will determine whether it is a private owner or Department of Transportation Agency.

If the roadway is a public road, then, take your issue up with the County or State Department of Transportation. They are responsible to keep the clearance over the public roadways. They may, also, hold the tree property owner liable for the low limbs over the roadway, but, D.O.T. is the responsible party to contact.

If the roadway is on private property, not a county maintained road(example: RV campground or Homeowner property), then take your issue up with the private property owner.

Vegetation Control For Safety - Safety | Federal Highway Administration
Look at item VII. Legal Aspects, 3rd paragraph.

Power, Cable, and Phone Companies are required to maintain minimum vertical clearances of wires over roadways per Federal Regulations, so are the D.O.T.

Hope this helps.

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Old 09-11-2016, 02:42 PM   #7
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I had 2 separate instances this weekend, 1 limb sounded like it took off my search light and AC then the other went all the way down the side from head to toe.
Documentation, documentation, documentation.

I hope you took lots of pictures of the incidents.

Rich
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Old 09-11-2016, 04:51 PM   #8
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It really upsets me when the government does not take care of problems before they occur. In Rockland ,MA a rotted tree split during a rain spell (wet leaves this spring) and came down on the owners of a local Dunkin Donuts driving by in their BMW and killed them both !

I guess you could say their # was up. However, I believe the DPW crews and utility crews that are around in the town have a responibility to note trees that may become problems. Too many times the utilities trim out the middle of a tree and leave a spot where water collects and ROTS causing splits and limbs to come down. THEN they come out and clean it up after.

I see so many town trucks riding around that seem to do nothing. The very least they could due is take note of low hanging trees etc.

IT"S NOT MY JOB MENTALITY.

Thanks for letting me rant and if you are a government employee, please take this to heart and save a life please.
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Old 09-11-2016, 05:03 PM   #9
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California has regulations for utility lines titled G O (general order) 95. I don't know if it covers trees? My son-in-law is an Arborist for a local City and he told me that trees are supposed to be a minimum of 15' over the City roads. You might see if you can find the regs for the County you were in or see if the State has regs like California.
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Old 09-11-2016, 05:05 PM   #10
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We ran into this issue in Cherokee NC . We had damage we payed for it did not think to try to get the Cherokee nation to pay for it. Some limbs were so low we had to go into the oncoming lanes to pass. Needles to say we will not camp in Cherokee again. This was the main(and only) road going in to all area campgrounds.
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Old 09-11-2016, 05:23 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by L.C.Gray View Post
So you're at no fault for striking a stationary object with your moving vehicle that you're controlling?
This, stick to truck routes, big rigs keep the trees pruned.
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Old 09-11-2016, 05:53 PM   #12
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Neighbor 2 doors up has a HUGE Mulberry Tree in front yard.....4' diameter trunk and at least 30' tall with a WIDE canopy.

Limbs hang out over street........all the way to middle of street and low enough that pickup trucks make contact.

I call city and reported the low hanging limbs.
2 days later city crew with boom truck/dump wagon and shredder showed up.
30 minutes later........all low hanging limbs trimmed back to side of street.

That was last year and this thread reminded me .........time to call again as they have regrown

City/County/State responsible for clear passage on their respective roadways.
Over/Low hanging tree limbs no different than potholes, rocks/boulders, mud etc on the roadways.

Getting payments/reimbursements etc..........that is what they have lawyers for and why you have insurance.
File the claim with your insurance and let THEM haggle it out with gov. entity
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Old 09-11-2016, 05:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
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California has regulations for utility lines titled G O (general order) 95. I don't know if it covers trees? My son-in-law is an Arborist for a local City and he told me that trees are supposed to be a minimum of 15' over the City roads.
G.O. 95 is for utility lines construction and maintenance in California. The minimum clearance for the Phone and Cable Companies over the road is 15'(whoever is lowest on the Utility Pole), as well, like your sons info about the 15' minimum over roadways.

Tree crews may follow other rules, but, would probably use G.O. 95 info when in regards to safe distance from energized power lines.

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Old 09-11-2016, 06:01 PM   #14
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Some counties or cities might have a system in place to make claims so a little google work or phone work might get positive results. An example would be chicago........Pretty sure it is in place for pothole damage but i looked at the page and the form and it does not exclude tree limbs or whatever. Just takes a little paperork and the claim might be paid. other places might be a small claims court problem.
Just for fun the chicago website for claims.............Claims | City Clerk of Chicago
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