Some Trees Are Assets, and Some Trees are Liabilities

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Lew Bloch, Registered Consulting Arborist ::::

Case Synopsis: A blind woman, while being transported in a para-transit bus had her leg impaled by a tree limb when a tree fell on the vehicle. The leg was amputated and she suffered other serious problems from the accident. The tree was on a municipal property with tree inspection responsibilities contracted to a private corporation and an additional company responsible for tree removal of hazardous trees.

Expert Analysis: In reviewing documents, interrogatories, and depositions, it was determined that the tree inspectors were not trained in tree inspections and had no knowledge of what constituted a hazardous tree. In reviewing photographs of the scene, it was determined that the tree that fell on the plaintiff was mostly deadwood and broke off at ground level because of severe root rot. Furthermore, the tree that fell had once been a part of a two stem tree. The other half had been removed many years before the accident because it had died, and the decaying wood had festered into the subject tree trunk that was alive at that time. There were even mushroom-like growths (conks) that were growing on the old stump and there were no viable roots on the tree that failed.

Result: Case Settled.

 

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