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County's tree falling on my neighbor's house

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cur1osul

Member
I live in Timonium Maryland.
About a year ago, a tree fell on my neighbor's house and destroyed most of it.
The tree was on county property.
His insurance covered all the repairs and now, in order to have the premium increase limited somehow, the neighbor is talking to the insurance company to sue the county for some of the money.
Because some of the trees from that property are close to my house, my neighbor told me that, in the case one of them falls on my house, it would make things way more easy if there was some sort of notice on record from me to the county. This will make the insurance company's job a lot easier to recover some of the claim amount (and reduce my potential premium increases).
I tried calling an attorney that (officially) does real estate stuff and I've been told "ummm, we don't do that". I asked what kind/type of lawyer should I look for and the (not unexpected) answer was " I don't know, look around until you find one that does this".

So, now I have three choices: start calling all the law offices around me until I find one (I'm afraid I'll give up after a while), try to search for something specific (any advice?) or get some suggestions in area (actual names).

Long story short, I need a lawyer that can write a letter for me putting the county on notice that some of the trees on their property might fall on my house.

Help?
 


Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Do you have reason to believe that they may fall on your house? Do they look unhealthy? Diseased? Dead? If not, then why do you believe that they may fall on your house?

Beyond that, what you are asking really doesn't take an attorney. Would you need an attorney to send your brother (for example) a note that the car he parked in your driveway last week has been leaking oil?
 

cur1osul

Member
The only reason to believe a tree will fall on my house is the fact that one fell on my neighbor's house. Nothing more.
The odd thing is that the tree that fell, did that on a day with 60mph winds (with higher gusts) and had a huge boulder between the roots (weakening them).
I see this letter as a (very cheap) insurance for a very unlikely event.
At the same time, I'm not good at drafting letters, I prefer to pay someone to do it for me ...

P.S. dead trees are much less likely to fall (no branches/leafs to "catch wind") until they are rotten completely, in which case the damage is minimal. I have 5-6" thick dead branches falling at least once a month on my deck and they literally shatter on impact (no damage to the wooden deck).
 

xylene

Senior Member
What you need is a Maryland CERTIFIED arborist.

You're just some guy, and a lawyer is just a law professional. The government gets letters from people and lawyers all the time.

An arborist will carry weight.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
If there were 60mph winds with gusts even higher, then your neighbor may find out that the county has no liability at all in the matter.

If the branches are falling from the county trees, then contact the county (in writing) telling them that there are branches falling from their trees and you are concerned about the possibility of the tree falling.

If you send a letter to the county and they respond by sending an arborist who tells the county that the trees are perfectly healthy, then you may actually damage your claim.
 

cur1osul

Member
The way I see it (I might be wrong, of course) is that the MAIN cause of the fall is the boulder weakening the roots. If that's the case, I doubt anyone (even a certified arborist) can predict a similar problem before it happens.
 

xylene

Senior Member
If that's the case, I doubt anyone (even a certified arborist) can predict a similar problem before it happens.
A certified arborist report would carry significance.
A good one would probably even personally know the relevant county maintenance personnel.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
The way I see it (I might be wrong, of course) is that the MAIN cause of the fall is the boulder weakening the roots. If that's the case, I doubt anyone (even a certified arborist) can predict a similar problem before it happens.
If that's the case and it's determined to be true that nobody could have known there was a problem with the tree, then the county won't be responsible.
 

cur1osul

Member
I know it sounds bad, but I don't have the knowledge and/or the will power to write letters and/or argue with county officials. That's why I'm looking for a lawyer to do that for me ...
 

stealth2

Under the Radar Member
The only reason to believe a tree will fall on my house is the fact that one fell on my neighbor's house. Nothing more.
The odd thing is that the tree that fell, did that on a day with 60mph winds (with higher gusts) and had a huge boulder between the roots (weakening them).
I see this letter as a (very cheap) insurance for a very unlikely event.
At the same time, I'm not good at drafting letters, I prefer to pay someone to do it for me ...

P.S. dead trees are much less likely to fall (no branches/leafs to "catch wind") until they are rotten completely, in which case the damage is minimal. I have 5-6" thick dead branches falling at least once a month on my deck and they literally shatter on impact (no damage to the wooden deck).
Why not talk to the lawyer your neighbor is using?

Oh.
 

adjusterjack

Senior Member
I know it sounds bad, but I don't have the knowledge and/or the will power to write letters and/or argue with county officials. That's why I'm looking for a lawyer to do that for me ...
Go to the attorney pages in the yellow pages. Start with the letter "A" and call up the firm. Say "I want to pay a lawyer $500 to write a letter for me. Please connect me with one who will do that." Keep going through the alphabet until you find one who will agree to write the letter.

Why not talk to the lawyer your neighbor is using?

Oh.
"Oh"?

You caught that the OP was asking his insurance company about subrogating against the county?
 

xylene

Senior Member
Unless this lawyer is also an arborist, the government will not care. He's just another person with no expertise in identifying diseased trees or trees at risk of falling and causing damage.

In fact, he's just some guy who hasn't even seen the tree.
 

stealth2

Under the Radar Member
Go to the attorney pages in the yellow pages. Start with the letter "A" and call up the firm. Say "I want to pay a lawyer $500 to write a letter for me. Please connect me with one who will do that." Keep going through the alphabet until you find one who will agree to write the letter.



"Oh"?

You caught that the OP was asking his insurance company about subrogating against the county?
I'm betting the neighbor doesn't have a lawyer.
 
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