Uh Oh. Are Homeowners Liable for Tree Care Accidents?

Know Your Responsibilities and Liabilities: Why DIY Tree Care is Always a Dangerous Proposition

Homeowners are responsible for whatever happens inside their property. And with that being said, they are potentially liable for whatever mishaps or accidents that occur within the property grounds. If you have trees inside your property, and you don’t take care of them regularly, if branch breaks and land on someone, hurting them in the process, you will be held liable for the injuries that person may have sustained.

In addition, if you have professionals working on your property and they get hurt while pruning one of your trees, you may even be held liable for whatever tree care accidents that occur, especially if the company’s credentials and paperwork are not in order.

So what does this mean?

To avoid getting sued or get slapped with a fine, you need to pay closer attention to the trees that grow within your property. To make sure that the trees are in good condition, you may want to consider doing regular tree care maintenance. And for that, you’re going to have to hire a professional tree care service.

Not All Tree Service Companies Are Equal

Before you decide to hire any particular tree care professional or company, you need to do some research to make sure that they meet the following standards:

  • Insurance – Tree care companies must have liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance if they’re going to work in their client’s property. Otherwise, you the homeowner will be legally liable for any accidents that take place in your property while they are in your employ.
  • Good Reputation – When you do your research, you should also make sure that the company you want to hire has a good reputation within the industry. Try to verify any professional affiliations they might have. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau for more information about the company.
  • Local References – You should always ask for references before you decide to hire the company. This will allow you to check the quality of their work and whether or not previous clients were satisfied or disappointed with their service.
  • Knowledge and Expertise – Check to see if the company has up-to-date knowledge and expertise regarding proper tree care and safety protocols. This is very important as it ensures safety and limits the occurrence of workplace accidents.
  • Contracts – Make sure to carefully check the contract so will know what your responsibilities are as the homeowner and what your liabilities might be. Never hire a company without a written contract.

Why Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Tree Maintenance Is Not a Good Idea

If you’re worried about homeowner liability when it comes to tree maintenance, then you should probably think twice about DIY tree care, especially if you have no experience whatsoever in this kind of work.

That’s not all . . .

Sure, pruning tree branches and cutting off rotten tree limbs sounds simple enough. In reality, it actually isn’t. In fact, working with trees, specifically, the bigger ones, is extremely complicated and dangerous without the appropriate knowledge or expertise.

Accidents and injuries can occur, improper handling of cut tree limbs to faulty pruning equipment. And if a neighbor happens to walk by as you were sawing off a large branch, and it hits the person on the head, you would be in serious trouble.

Accident factors that are commonly associated with DIY tree care work:

  1. The use of extension ladders.

If you’re doing your own tree maintenance work, at some point you’re going to need an extension ladder in order to reach the upper portions of the tree. You might want to think carefully about how you’re going to use the extension ladder. A lot of DIY tree care accidents have occurred because of the improper use of extension ladders.

  1. Sharp, heavy, or faulty equipment.

Chainsaws, pruning shears, hand axe—these are tools that require some form of mastery before they can be operated safely. And even then, accidents may still happen, especially if the equipment is faulty. Professionals have years of training trying to operate such equipment. And because they’ve mastered the use of the equipment, they make it look easy. Assuming that operating a chainsaw is easy would be your first mistake.

  1. Inadequate knowledge about the physics and biology of trees.

Simply sawing or hacking away branches and limbs with your chainsaw and axe is really foolhardy and dangerous. Proper calculations, sufficient knowledge about tree biology, and common sense are important when it comes to tree care safety and avoiding unnecessary accidents.

What are your thoughts? Comment below!