Sadly this weekend a man was killed when a tree fell on his car in the Seward Park neighborhood after a violent wind storm. Many people are confused about the laws regarding liability for a tree when it falls. In Washington, the liability associated with a falling tree is determined by the condition of the tree and whether its owner knew about its condition. The law does not extend liability when a tree is otherwise healthy or if it wasn’t obvious to the owner that the tree was dead. If it is clear that a tree is dead or if there is evidence that the tree owner knew the tree was unstable and didn’t down the tree then that person/entity can be liable. If you are involved in an incident in which a tree has fallen it is important to take a lot of pictures of the tree and surrounding area and consider hiring an arborist to inspect the tree before it is destroyed. Without evidence of the condition of the tree it could become impossible to prove a case if you have one.
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