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Fallen Tree Responsibility in the State of Georgia: Between You and Your Neighbor, Who is at Fault?

Summer season in Georgia is a time of the year when the weather is hot and humid; the storms are frequent, resulting in strong winds and fallen trees. With Atlanta’s tree canopy coverage estimated at over 45%, including various species of trees in Georgia that varies from red cedar, to live oak, gum, and pine trees.
Fallen trees on houses, cars, and power lines are very common sights during the summer months. However, having the required knowledge on how to guide against the expense that comes afterward, from the damage caused by a fallen tree, can be very helpful.

What is the Law Regarding Owning Trees in Georgia?

Georgia must love its trees, because the tree responsibility law in the state of Georgia is such a complicated issue. There are various urban cities like Atlanta and Savannah, and rural towns with local rules that may affect the freedom of tree removal on your fence line or of trimming them back on your neighbor’s property.
However, according to the law, some significant rules to keep in mind in terms of owning and getting rid of trees are:

Who is Responsible when a Neighbor's Tree falls on Your Property in the State of Georgia?

In the State of Georgia, the fallen tree responsibility law is based around the fact that if a tree falls within your boundary and cause any damage to your property, you are responsible for the damages.
However, if it falls from your property unto your neighbor’s or someone else’s property, and causes any damage, this does not automatically make you being the owner of the tree, legally responsible for the damage caused, by the fallen tree.

According to the Law, a few factors that are put into consideration to determine who is at fault to take the responsibility of the damage caused by a fallen tree are:

Therefore, these interpret that the owner of a tree is responsible or liable for the damage caused, including the tree removal, if only the person has the previous knowledge that the tree is visibly diseased or decayed. Otherwise, any of the damage caused to the neighbor’s property by the fallen tree will entirely be the victimized property owner’s responsibility.

NB: Notwithstanding, kindly note that this law is only relevant to urban landowners as rural landowners have their own rules and regulations, which you will find by checking your local court’s website.

How to Guide Against the Damage in Accordance with the Law?

The evergreen look of trees in Georgia can be very astonishing, and their rapid, intimidating growth sometimes makes them tempting to keep. However, what happens when the comet comes crashing through and causes problems for you?

Below are the recommendable walkthroughs, given by qualified practitioners, to mitigate the expenses or guide against the damage caused by a fallen tree in accordance with the law.

Try to Gather Evidence

If you find yourself in a situation, whereby your neighbor’s tree has shown any sign that makes it obviously predictable that it is very likely to fall, or after it falls… The first thing you should do is to take note of the environment for the sake of your safety, and be on the lookout for electric wires, and electrified tree branches.

Then try to gather as much evidence as possible, with any good quality camera. Either by taking the pictures or recording a video that covers the pain points you will need to file and back up your claim against such fellow, if need be, in a court of law.

Approach Your Neighbor

Another thing you could do is to walk up to your neighbor, and keep the conversation outside, and simple. If possible, whenever there are by-standers that can hear you and bear witness to the conversation. Then, peacefully bring the issue to the person’s attention. If they fail to comply, then you may as well go get yourself a sound lawyer and be ready to make a case.

Fall Back on Insurance or Bear the Cost

In the case whereby you happen to be the victim, or that it happened because of a heavy wind that stormed down the tree, which is mentioned earlier on as an “Act of God”. By which, no one can be held responsible or liable for the damages caused by the fallen tree. The least available option is to read the insurance policy of the damaged property and find out what its policy covers.

However, in a situation whereby you seem guilty and liable for the damage caused to your neighbor’s property, (judging by the rules mentioned above) by a fallen tree from your residence. Given the fact that most insurance policy do not cover the liability to others, (but it won’t hurt to check just to be sure), the only option you may be left with is to bear the cost.


In conclusion, to determine who is at fault to take the responsibility of a fallen tree can be very daunting, considering the fact that the law varies from state to state, cities, and towns. Nevertheless, it is advisable to be on the lookout for any ill-omen tree, (the earlier you are able to spot them, the safer you can guide against them). Then come to an agreement of trimming or the removal of the tree with your neighbor.

Finally, try to resolve any fallen tree dispute amicably with your neighbors, as this may be easier if not cheaper. In fact, who knows, your neighbor might be kind enough to share the expenses with you in a situation whereby you are liable, but do not have enough funds to take care of the damages caused to their property. On the other hand, you can leverage on your right to trim back the roots or branches to the property line.

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