Injured By A Falling Tree In Seattle?
Washington is known as “The Evergreen State” and is home to over 30 species of evergreens, hardwoods and others. The diversity of our trees adds to the overall beauty of our city and the surrounding region.
Many of the trees in our area have been growing for decades and have deep root systems. The main root system is at the top 15 inches, with lesser root branches extending as deep as two to four times the depth of the tree. Severe rainstorms have recently hit our area, saturating the top layer of soil to the point where the root system can no longer keep the tree standing, with tree falls becoming a more commonplace event.
Tree falls may be the result of a failure to properly maintain a tree on private property, public property, or in parks, along sidewalks, or other areas. When a tree falls, it may cause damage to property or vehicles, but in the deadliest incidents, an innocent person walking or driving in the area is hit by the tree and suffers serious or fatal injuries.
Causes Of Tree Accidents
Tree falls can occur due to various problems affecting the tree, including:
- Lack of proper maintenance
- Older, rotting root systems
- Heavy rain, saturating the ground, loosening tree
- Diseased tree
- Damaged tree
- Lack of sufficient area for root system growth
- Violent wind storms
- Decayed tree trunk or branches
- Shallow or rocky soil
- Root system damaged by construction in the area
Signs That A Tree Could Fall
Tree falls can occur randomly due to heavily saturated earth or a wind storm, but in regular conditions, several warning signs are visible, including:
- Dead branches
- Trunk has hollow areas
- Roots are raising
- The trunk has missing bark or cracks
- Dead leaves closest to the tree trunk
- Trunk is leaning at an angle
- Exposed tree roots
- Fungi incursions
- Root rot
- Carpenter ants
- Vines at the base and climbing the trunk
- Incorrect planting procedures
Negligence And Tree Accidents: The Facts
A tree may fall after heavy rainfall or in a wind event, and in some cases, the tree fall is the result of negligence. The party responsible for the property, whether private, public or federal land, may have failed to monitor the health of the trees, allowing tree decay or other problems to continue, without pruning, treating a diseased tree, or removing the tree to protect the safety of others who may be present in the area. When a tree fall has resulted in an injury to a person, it must be determined if negligence caused the problem. A property owner who has failed to maintain a tree could be guilty of negligence. To support a claim for compensation, it will be necessary to prove that:
- The property owner had a dangerous tree on their property that posed an unreasonable risk of falling and causing harm.
- The property owner knew or should have known that this hazardous condition existed.
- The property owner took no action to warn others of the risk of a tree fall.
- The tree fall was the cause of the injuries sustained by another person.
Types Of Severe Injuries From Tree Falls
A falling branch or tree is typically a sudden event. A pedestrian, cyclist, driver or resident in a community could be seriously injured if in the wrong place at the wrong time. The types of injuries sustained can include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Crush injuries
- Internal injuries
- Head and neck injuries
Types Of Compensation
After suffering serious injuries or losing a loved one who was the victim of an accident related to a falling tree, several types of compensation can be sought in a claim or lawsuit. These include:
- Economic damages: These are the financial losses associated with the accident and injuries, including medical costs, hospital costs, nursing costs, rehabilitation costs, loss of wages from work during recovery, and reduced earning capacity, and any need for future care and treatment, among other hard costs.
- Noneconomic damages: Damages should be pursued for pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, emotional anguish, and other more personal losses, each of which are given a financial value.
You Need An Attorney To Fight For Fair Compensation
At Pendergast Law, we have gained a reputation for legal excellence in cases of severe injury and wrongful death. Mr. Pendergast is a member of the elite Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and is listed in Top 10 Trial Lawyers. More than 90 percent of cases are settled out of court, but our firm has extensive trial experience and can move forward to trial, if necessary, with confidence and professionalism.
Contact us immediately after a tree fall accident that led to serious injuries or death. Our firm offers a free initial consultation and provides counsel on a contingency fee basis. Call us toll-free at 888-539-9211 today.