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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 31614
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I would be grateful for your advice on storm damage to a

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Good morning. I would be grateful for your advice on storm damage to a boundary fence on a commercial property. Some trees on my land were blown down and they damaged the boundary fence belonging to the owner of the neighbouring property. The insurance company have confirmed that this is an “Act go God” and is therefore not covered by insured. They have advised that the neighbour is responsible for replacing the fence. He is disputing this as they were my trees that caused the damage. I have tried to be reasonable and have offered to pay half of the repair bill however he has rejected this offer claiming that he has no responsibility to make good the damage. Please could you advise what my responsibility is from a legal standpoint? Thank you.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: I live in South Wales
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have spoken to the neighbour. He has obtained a quotation for the repair and I am going to get a quotation for the repair as quickly as I can.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No, I don’t think so. The only communication has been verbal, nothing has been put in writing yet.

Hello and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 15 years’ experience. Please be aware that although I will endeavour to reply to you promptly, I am also in full time private practice and so I may not be available to respond immediately and it may also take me a few minutes to prepare a reply. The site will notify you as soon as I respond. I look forward to working with you to answer your question fully.

I am very sorry to read of the above. From what you say, my correct to understand that you were not aware of any issues with the trees prior to the storm please?

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
That is correct, I was not aware of any issues prior to the storm.
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Thank you. I would prefer to have a conversation so would be happy to wait.

my apologies for the delay in reverting to you - I had to step into a meeting.

Thank you for the above. If the cause of the damage was the recent storm and there was no known situation prior to the incident whereby the tree was dangerous, then this would constitute an accident for which there would be no claim available against you by your neighbour. This is because in order to raise a claim, one either needs to evidence the existence of the contract which course will not exist as between you and the neighbour or liability under tort. Tort is the law that underpins claim such as road traffic accidents, personal injury claims and of course property damage such as is the case here.

In order to prove a case in tort, you need to be able to show that another person owes you (1) a duty of care which in this case the neighbour can; (2) that you fell short of that duty of care - we will return to this and (3) that they suffered loss by way of personal injury or property damage as a result which again they can.

This leaves them with (2) as the remaining hurdle. In order to show that you fell short of your duty of care, they will need to be able to show that either they notified you the tree was in danger of falling onto their land and you did nothing about it or you ought reasonably to have been aware of the potential for the tree to fall. If this cannot be shown there is no negligence on your part and therefore it would be difficult or impossible to show that you were in breach of your duty of care to them and as a result, a claim in tort would fail.

Rather in the circumstances, it would need to be a claim that is made against their home insurance or pay for the damage themselves.

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