Trees with Possible Prior Fall Risk Cause Injury to Couple Driving in a Car

    This case involves a couple that was driving on an exit ramp, and they were injured by a tree that fell on top of their car. The trees were on a property adjacent to the highway controlled by the government. When an investigator went out to the parkway, there was a group of trees that had been falling in the same area. The plaintiffs alleged that the trees must have been in a weakened condition for quite some time and the trees falling should have been noticed and future accidents prevented. An arborist was sought to opine on the issue.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Should the trees have been examined prior to the incident to determine if they posed a risk to the public?

    Expert Witness Response E-001739

    To see if there was any wrong-doing in this case, I’d need to do a site visit and see the trees, or examine detailed pictures or samples. From that, I should be able to determine what level of care should have been given to the trees. Also, I’d need to see who is responsible for this land (at the state or federal level) and see their standards of management to determine who is responsible. Based on my background, I feel confident I can comment on the trees’ conditions and the causes for them falling. I have worked in the horticultural industry as a landscape architect, groundskeeper, and a landscaper for over thirty years. I also designed, installed, and maintained the landscapes of farms, facilities, historic grounds, and cemeteries. Additionally, I address my city’s street tree needs, addressing over 1000 citizen requests annually.

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