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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71133
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hallo, I contacted my home insurance early Jan 2014. Advising

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I contacted my home insurance early Jan 2014.
Advising that a tree on Railtrack land had fallen on my garden sheds (and is still there!).
I called my insurers, who advised me that I had an authentic claim (with £250.00 excess)which I accepted.
Tendays later an assorrrarrived for an 08.00 sunday appointment,and photgraphed site.
Advised that we would hear within ten days.And forward two estimates as I had a claim
When I hadn`t heard I called insureres and was adised that I should deal with assessors as my claim is genuine .I called assessors, and was advised "Act of god " no claim. I called again and another advisor said my estimates were far to high and" we do not do improvements or betterments" and offered me 10%.of my lowest esatimate.
I wrote to the insurere and assessors again and pointed out ;
1) we are disabled octogenarians with serious medical conditions.
2) We only want our property put back as it was.
3) We advised that we are pleased for both parties above to send in their own people to re- put up the site as itwas.
To date they have not replied(14 daysplus) I accept they have lots of other claims
Please advise me of my rights in this matter and suggest what I can do.
I have contacted Rail track several times as their tree is still straddling mutual broken fence and still resting on our shed roofs

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

How can I help with this please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What info do you need

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Detail already sent.


Yes, I've read the facts.

I was wondering what you would like to know about this?
I am not certain what you want to know so I will tell you the general situation

Just because someone owns a tree and the tree has blown down, does not make them automatically liable.

They are only liable in negligence if this could have been prevented by maintenance and that without maintenance, the incident would be reasonably foreseeable.

If, for example, the wind was of such magnitude that even healthy and well rooted trees were blown down and damage was widespread, the tree owner can escape liability.

In that case, you would be faced with relying on your own insurer and not the tree owners insurer.

It is the neighbouring landowners tree and they are however under a duty to remove it. If they will not do so, then you can remove it or arrange to have it removed and sue the tree owner in the Small Claims Court for the cost of the removal.

If the insurance company will not pay up, you can also sue the tree owner for the cost of the damage to the shed and the fence. They will have to prove that the damage was not reasonably foreseeable because there was nothing wrong with the tree. That is not going to be easy for them to do.

Here is the link to the Small Claims Court service

I am happy to clarify any particular points that you wish to raise

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

1) The tree died more than five years ago.

2) rail staff were informed several times by phone, and once in person when a neighbour complained of smoke from my bonfire.mistakenly assuming I bonfired on Railtrack property.

The insurers offered £1,800.00 my lowest estimate of two is £10.000.

With the facts presented , I want to know what I can do, after being ignored by insurers and their assessors to progress my claim when I said I would be pleased for their staff to reinstate as was my property.damage no more no less

The small claims court stops at £5000.00, so how do I use the system to get £10.000 and or insurers to do the job?

If the tree died five years ago and the owners were already aware of that, I do not see how they can escape liability for negligence.

You can either sue Railtrack for what you have lost or put the matter through your own insurance company and if your own insurance company will not pay out, or instigate proceedings against Railtrack you can refer the matter as a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.

The small claims limit is now £10,000, not £5000.
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