Landlord Found Negligent for Fallen Tree Limb

Attorneys for a tenant who was injured when a tree limb fell in the yard of her rental home have announced the tenant won a nearly $3 million verdict against the landlord.

A San Bernardino jury found the landlord negligent because he did not adequately inspect the property before the tenants, a family of five, moved in, according to the legal team of Bergener & Associates, which specializes in personal injury cases.

The woman sustained serious injuries when a branch fell on her legs and feet. Later investigation revealed that the tree was hollowed by rot.

In a blog post, the Bergener firm explains that lawyers tried unsuccessfully to settle with Farmers Insurance, the landlord’s carrier, for the policy limit of $1 million but the insurer refused, and submitted counteroffers that did not cover the woman’s extensive medical bills. Attorneys then opted to take the case to trial.

Lawyers made the argument that the landlord should have known of the dangerous condition of trees on the property because he worked in construction and landscaping, and  he  failed in his duty to inspect the rental property for hazards before the family moved in.

The tenants also brought up the claim that fallen branches had caused damage to the property in the past, and others had been removed.

The jury concluded that the landlord was aware that the tree posed a risk to the safety of the tenants, and failed to remove that risk or warn the tenants of the danger.

The tenant was hospitalized for several months after her injuries, and continues to suffer limited mobility which interferes with her ability to care for her young children.

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