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Fallen Trees on Roadways Are Hazardous

New York property owners sometimes encounter legal challenges (and even litigation) arising from mishaps involving an unexpected asset: trees. Every year large branches or trunks felled by heavy snows, lighting, or windstorms topple onto local roadways. If they contribute to traffic accidents, these obstructions sometimes lead to the courthouse door. Consider following a few safety tips:

1. Always check the mature growth parameters of any tree prior to planting. Allocate space for the adult tree as you measure the site. A tiny sapling placed in the ground several feet away from the property line this year may become a significant problem just a decade later if its rapidly growing branches overhang roadways, rooftops, or a neighbor's fence.

2. Request trained arborist assistance before performing tree-trimming or pruning at heights. A lopsided tree faces a considerably greater risk of falling down.

3. Always ensure you remove felled timber; don't allow the wood to remain on the ground where it might roll onto a roadway or a driveway and obstruct traffic.

4. Ensure you remove tree branches which obscure driver vision along adjoining roadways. The Insurance Information Institute reports 3% of all fatal auto and motorcycle accidents during 2016 alone resulted from impaired visibility. Untrimmed branches have killed drivers in the past. If you require a residential privacy screen, consider erecting a fence and maintaining your trees entirely within the enclosed area.

Levine and Wiss, PLLC practices in the field of New York personal injury law. We offer knowledgeable counsel and zealous client representation.