When a Neighbor Damages or Destroys Your Tree

Damaged tree trunkTrees offer a lot of benefits to humankind. They provide natural shade in summer, they are a fortress for some wildlife, and they are beautiful. However, sometimes, they can be a reason for quarrel among neighbors, if they are not well-maintained, or cause damage to someone’s property. The problems sometimes get worse if the two neighbors don’t get along well. But whatever the circumstance is, you must understand your rights and responsibilities, so you know what to do and avoid making impulsive actions.  Just ask Lyle with Jacksonville Tree Service about his experience with neighbor’s disputes around trees.  He has seen countless times an untrimmed or fallen tree causing significant disputes between otherwise friendly neighbors.

If anyone in your community removes or harms the tree in your yard without your consent, that person is liable for the loss. If worse comes to worst, you can file a suit to enforce your rights.

The following are some of the most common questions about tree damage and the simple answers to them.

What can you consider as “damage” to your tree?

It is against the law for your neighbor to cut down your tree or cause damage to your tree’s health. For instance, it is your neighbor’s legal right to trim branches that hang over their fence. If in the case that the trimming caused grave damage to the health of your tree, your neighbor should be responsible for the loss. Your neighbor should also be held liable if he uses chemicals to handle invasive roots, and it accidentally destroys one of the trees in your property.

What should I prove to be able to claim damages from a neighbor who injured one of my trees?

There are two critical things that you need to prove in order to get compensated for a damaged tree.

  • There should be evident damage to your property. For example, your neighbor trims a branch that crosses his property, and it resulted to your tree looking unsightly, but it wasn’t hurt in any way, you don’t have any right to claim for damage. Your tree must be damaged for you to have any right to recovery.
  • The tree should not be an imminent danger to your community. Unhealthy, damaged trees are different from healthy, living trees in terms of their legal protection. To give you an example, if a dead tree is showing signs that it is about to topple off, your neighbor can intervene and come into your property to make the necessary actions and prevent things from getting worse.

Can the owner of the tree claim for actual losses as a result of a damaged tree?

Yes. If your neighbor or anyone damages your tree, you have a right to claim for the loss caused by the injury made by your neighbor. Even if an honest mistake causes the damage, you still have a right to this claim. The cost for the loss might account for:

The amount needed to replace the tree. The price would also include the amount required for cleaning up the area and the debris.

Significant impact on the value of your property. If the loss of your tree diminishes your total property value, you can claim for the decrease in your property value because of the damaged tree.

Out-of-pocket expenses. There are states where you can recover whatever money you shed for trying to save a damaged tree or to get rid of a dead one. The total cost might include cleaning up tree-related debris, appraisal cost, repairing your landscape, or having missed days at work to take care of the injured tree.

Aesthetic impact and psychological effect. Some courts have granted claims to tree owners for the aesthetic loss and psychological pain caused by the damaged tree.

What if your neighbor intentionally injures your tree, can you claim for more than the actual loss?

Some states have rules and regulations for this case. Some consider additional damages if your neighbor deliberately injures your tree. One example is in the state of Mississippi where you can sue your neighbor for double the total amount of the damage, considering both at he did it intentionally.

Not all states have specific statutes regarding intentional damage to trees, but you might be able to file charges for punitive damages. This is an extra amount above the actual cost of damage if it’s proven that the person who injured your tree had malicious intent to your tree.

What if the owner of the tree has already been partially paid by the insurance company?

In the case where your tree was damaged, and you have been paid your insurance company for part of the loss, you should take this amount from the other claims you will make, such as in a lawsuit. However, you can claim for this amount if you are asked by the insurance company to pay them back.

Is it considered a criminal act to deliberately harm someone’s tree?

Most states don’t consider intentionally hurting a tree as a crime. However, some states do have specific laws that consider deliberate tree damage a crime. The offender can be fined or serve jail time. Even if your state doesn’t have a particular statute addressing this issue, the prosecutor can use general criminal laws. He could use statutes concerning property damage or theft to pin down someone who intentionally injured a tree.

However, in most cases, prosecutors don’t go after people who injure trees in a community. They more likely go after commercial industries, such as timber business or Christmas tree business.

Who should I ask for help regarding laws governing trees and issues with neighbors?

If you want to learn more about laws concerning trees on your property, and what to do when they get damaged, it is best to consult with an attorney near you.

What should I do if my neighbor’s tree looks like it’s going to fall anytime?

Property owners should take care of all the trees in their yard. They have legal responsibilities in terms of inspecting the tree for any risky situation that can lead to safety issues. In case your neighbor doesn’t eliminate a hazardous tree, and it results in property damage, he should be held responsible.

If you have already talked to your neighbor regarding the tree concern and he didn’t take any action to resolve the issue, then you have specific laws to protect you. The tree can be considered a nuisance because it interferes with your access to your property and hundred you from enjoying your property to its fullest. A nuisance claim can be filed, and if the court grants the complaint, the tree must be removed.

Majority of cities have ordinances that prohibit homeowners from having hazardous trees in their yard. Your city government can remove the dangerous tree, or they can ask your neighbor to take it down.

Some utility companies can also intervene in the tree’s removal, especially if the tree poses a threat to their equipment or a potential fire hazard. If you call the utility service, they can go ahead and eliminate the tree for you.

A lot of trees falling is caused by intense storms or natural disasters, which is why homeowners do not have to bother about the repair and other expenses because their insurers would handle it. If they are not found responsible for the damages, they shouldn’t worry about premium increases as well. Sometimes, neighbors may still file charges to be repaid of their other expenses. You don’t have to reach this situation if you only prevent the problem from occurring. Make a habit of checking your trees for any sign of weakness or health issues.

A certified arborist can inspect and assess the current situation of the tree to see if it requires any immediate attention or treatment. They should also let you know if the tree would benefit from trimming or at least pruning or it needs to be removed altogether. You may think that this is not necessary and is just an additional expense, but it can actually save you from loads of trouble in the future. The money you will spend on a professional arborist is nothing compared to the repair or any legal costs you need to settle if your tree causes damage to your neighbor’s property. If you plan to reside in your community for a long time, it is fitting to keep a good relationship with your neighbor to prevent having unwanted quarrels with them. If you want to learn more about damage claims from fallen trees, get in touch with an agent.

Call Scott at Century Trees, Inc for more information on how to deal with this neighborly problem.

Mistakes to Avoid When Using Bail Bonds

Downtown Tampa, FLThe ultimate goal for anyone who has been arrested is to get out of jail as soon as possible. One of the first things that a defendant should do to be released is to contact a trusted local bail bonds company to help him with the bail if he can’t pay the amount on his own.

A reliable bail bonds company will be able to help the defendant with every detail of the bail process. The bail bonds company can expedite the release of the defendant. However, there are times when the defendant or those who act on his behalf commit some crucial mistakes that slow down the process. If you want to get out of jail as soon as possible, avoid doing things that can affect the entire process.

Avoiding Common Bail Bond Mistakes

Not having the right information- The first thing that the bail bonds company need is the defendant’s necessary information. The documents will be filled with his information that is why it is essential to get them right. This critical information includes:

  • The complete and correct name of the defendant
  • His date of birth or the booking number assigned to him
  • The exact location where the accused is being held in custody
  • The amount of bail that was set by the court

Not having these information handy means the bail bonds company will go looking for them and it would take time. It is better to learn these information ahead of time to help the bail bondsman expedite the process.

Not calling right away- Regardless of the time of day, you should contact a bail bonds company as soon as you or your loved one is arrested. The processing of bail may take a few hours, but it can be longer if you don’t call a bail bonds company right away. When one of your loved ones is under custody, you want to make sure he gets the help he needs right away, so it will benefit him if you call a trusted bail bonds company as soon as he gets arrested. Also, remember that most bail bonds company operate 24/7 to ensure that they can help a person in need no matter what time of day. Time is of the essence, so don’t delay calling a trusted local bail bonds company.

Picking the Wrong bail bond company– Make sure that you call a reputable company to handle your loved one’s bail. Look for a company that is respected by people for delivering excellent results. Some indicators of a good company are:

  • A company that has been rooted in the area for years.
  • A company that freely offers its license number
  • Excellent online reviews can tell you that this is the right company
  • A company that is firm with the payment you need to pay for the service. You should take it as a red flag if the company doesn’t want to provide with this information.

If you want your loved one to be out of jail sooner, then avoid making these mistakes. Have the correct information, call the bail bonds company, and make the right choice.

Bail bond sign

 

Five Types of Bails

In the court of law, a person who is arrested and charged with a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty. As a defendant, you need to show that you are not guilty of the presented charge and you will do it through a court hearing. In a court hearing, you will appear before a judge, and you will have to explain your side of the story. The trial doesn’t happen immediately after you are arrested. It can occur after days, weeks or even months after your arrest. You may be allowed to be released in jail before the date of your trial if you are granted bail.

Bail is not granted to everyone, including the repeat offenders, those who are charged with felony crimes, or those who are a threat to the community’s safety. Besides these people, bail is granted to everyone.

There are five types of bail that you can use depending on what is more applicable to you. Here is a list of the bond available for defendants:

Cash Bail

From the term itself, cash bail is paid by the defendant in full amount using cash, check, or a credit card. It is ideal for people who have the means on hand because there is less hassle on them.

Surety Bond

A surety bond is an agreement among the accused, a local bail bond company and a third party who will make sure the defendant appears in court on the day of his trial. The bail bonds company will pay the bail for the defendant in full. In return, the defendant would be responsible for paying typically 10% of the total bail amount. Defendants who don’t have enough cash to bail choose this type of bail.

Cite Out

There are times when the accused may be released through citation. The offender does not have a booking number, but he is given the date on which he will return to court. It is mostly granted to offenders who committed light and non-felony crimes. It is also to help the arresting officers save time.

Property Bond

If the offender does not have cash but has a property under his name, he can use it instead as property bond. A property bond is a physical property that can include a real estate to be granted released until the court trial. If the court allows, it will have power or lien on the property, and if the accused doesn’t appear in a trial, the court can do whatever it pleases to the park. There are cases when the property should be twice as much as the amount of the bail before it gets allowed as property bail. Also, some states don’t allow property bonds at all.

Release on Own Personal Recognizance

In this case, no bail needs to be settled due to the judge’s discretion. It typically happens when the offender has a good history, has been living in the area for a while and holds regular employment. The defendant only needs to sign an agreement that he will return to court on the specified trial day.

 

10 Bail Bond Terms You Should Know

Bail bond iconIt is a stressful event for anyone to be arrested for a crime, but it gets more stressful when you are not aware of the things that can help you out in jail. The good things are, bail bond companies can help you be released as soon as possible. We know that the court may use terms that are not very common to regular people that is why we have come up with a list of ten terms that you should know about bail bonds. These terms can help you quickly understand what your rights and responsibilities in getting bail are.

Key Terms from Our Bail Bondsman

  1. Bail- It is the amount set by the court to be paid by the defendant to be released of custody while waiting for his or her trial day. Bail amount depends on the gravity of the offense made by the defendant and his or her criminal record.
  2. Bail Bond– When we say bail bond, this is the written document which states that the bondsman will pay the entire amount of bail while the defendant is typically given 10 percent of the bond to fund the bondsman.
  3. Bondsman/ Bail Bond Agent– The person who can handle the bail and pay it out for you to be released from custody in no time. You go to a bail bondsman if you don’t have enough money on hand to pay the bail in full.
  4. Real Estate– The defendant may use his property to serve as a security that the bondsman will get his money back. It can be in the form of a house, vacation home, or even vehicles.
  5. Defendant- The person who has been charged with a crime is a defendant which means he has not proven his guilt or innocence, but allegations have been presented.
  6. Felonies– Felonies are crimes considered to be major criminal offenses. If you are charged with a felony crime, you can expect that the court will set a higher amount for your bail.
  7. Forfeit– A defendant who is unable to appear before the court on the specified trial day will forfeit his or her bond payment or property bond. It means he will lose his right over his property.
  8. Indemnitor– A person or a company who acts as a third party and signs the defendant’s bail bond and assuming responsibility for the bail in case the defendant fails to appear in court.
  9. Misdemeanor- Unlike a felony, misconduct is a nonindictable offense and does not carry the same weight as a felony. If charged with this, you may be asked to pay a fine or serve community work.
  10. The bail bondsman is only one of the persons who can act as a middle man to ensure the defendant will return to court on his trial day.

Get Help from an Affordable Tampa Bondsman

Knowing these term give you the knowledge about the things that need to be handled during the bail bond process. If you are in need of someone to help with you or your loved one’s release, contact a local bondsman to assist you. He will be able to help you with every detail of the release process.