If your neighbor's tree falls in your yard, who pays for cleanup?

Published: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 @ 11:16 AM

Who Pays for Cleanup if Your Neighbor’s Tree Falls in Your Yard?

If a tree falls in your yard, what you do next could save you money, a limb and maybe even your life.

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According to Trees Atlanta, the metro area has the nation's highest "urban tree canopy," defined as the layer of leaves, branches and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above.

During the stormy summer months, fallen trees are fixtures in metro Atlanta's landscape. The steps you take after a tree falls can mean the difference between headache and heartache.

The first thing to do is call your homeowners insurance agent, said Bob Delbridge, owner of 404-Cut-Tree, one of the largest tree service companies in the Atlanta area.

"Occasionally we will deal directly with the insurance company. But that's more likely if there is a storm that covers a large area, like a whole neighborhood." Delbridge said. "Typically, the homeowner deals with their own insurance company."

Where the tree falls determines who pays for what. "Almost everyone is surprised when we tell them, the way the law works is, wherever the tree landed, that person is responsible for dealing with it regardless of where the tree came from."

That's right, even if the tree is rooted in your neighbor's yard, if it crashes onto your property, it's your problem.

Once the insurance agent gives the green light, the homeowner is responsible for hiring contractors. Homeowners can save money cutting up the tree themselves and then hiring someone to simply remove logs and branches. However, unless skilled with a chainsaw, owners should leave tree removal to professionals, Delbridge said.

"Typically, if the homeowners are out there with chainsaws, we'll talk to them about some basic safety information. This might save somebody's leg," he said. "There are just very easy steps to take that could really minimize injuries."

He recommends people wear protective chapssafety glasses and other gear.

"It's a federal law that commercial tree cutters wear chaps whenever they handle chainsaws on the ground. All the established companies do this," Delbridge said. "The most common injury caused by the chainsaw is an injury to the leg."

These chaps are available at retailers like Lowe's and online. "They are made of material that will stop the chainsaw blade even when it's turning at full speed without even bruising your skin." he said. "Protective glasses will help you avoid eye injuries from flying splinters."

Cutting up a fallen tree is not a DIY project for amateurs. "They might avoid paying the tree cutter some money, but they'll probably end up paying the emergency room," Delbridge said. "It's very dangerous to cut trees, and storm situations are the most dangerous. It really depends on the skill of the owner."

Even those skilled with power tools need to take precautions before tackling a fallen tree. "Whenever trees are down, the first thing to do is look for power lines." Delbridge said. "Believe it or not, trees conduct electricity, and every year there are so many people that are electrocuted by touching a branch that is also touching a live power line."

Delbridge cautioned homeowners to be wary of branches that may be bent beneath a fallen tree. "They can really have a powerful spring effect. Another common injury happens when someone cuts a branch and the tree jumps because they've reduced the weight, and the tree falls on someone. They could lose a leg or their life."

Lataunya Tilstra, an insurance agent with New York Life, said depending on the extent of damage, a homeowner might need several contractors to finish the job. One of her neighbors recently had a tree fall on her house.

"She had to call the tree service first. Then she needed a roofer, and she'll need a builder to rebuild the part of her house that was damaged. So she has several moving parts."

Speaking of insurance claims, most policies cover only damage if the tree falls on a part of the home. "Sometimes the fallen tree can cover your whole yard, and they're not going to help you with a dime of it unless it's actually on a patio, the fence, house or garage," said Corey Cargle, owner of Steve's Tree and Landscape Service in Atlanta.

"I had one homeowner's insurance company turn one of my customers down for a tree that was hit by lightning. It was uprooting, splitting, leaning all over her house and was ready to fall. But they would not approve of any preventive work to remove the tree before it damaged the home," Cargle said. "They basically told (the homeowner) to take care of it or it would be negligent because she knew the tree was about to fall. In hindsight, the homeowner should have waited and let the tree fall on the house I guess, and saved themselves thousands. Insurance companies can be rough."

Cargle recommends you take plenty of pictures. "If it leaves your property and hits someone's home, car or anything else, it's off you. It becomes their tree. A lot of people call us and say, ‘Hey, this tree fell from my neighbors house into our yard, and I want you to give us an estimate and we'll give it to them,’ but it doesn't work like that."

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Police: Mother accused of giving child hydrochloric acid, chlorine as autism 'cure'

Published: Saturday, February 17, 2018 @ 1:55 PM

File image of a liquid dispenser bottle.
Pixabay
File image of a liquid dispenser bottle.(Pixabay)

An Indianapolis mother is accused of feeding her child a dangerous homemade concoction in an attempt to "cure" the child's autism, police said.

The woman's husband claims his wife placed drops of hydrochloric acid and a water purifying solution that contained chlorine into their child's beverage, FOX59 reported. The woman reportedly referred to the mixture as the "miracle mineral solution" and said she found the recipe on a Facebook group page. The husband told police that his wife had fed their child the toxic mixture a few weeks ago, but he only found out about it last weekend.

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The “miracle mineral solution” has been reviewed by the FDA, which warned that it is essentially bleach, FOX59 reported. The mixture is often promoted as being a cure-all for everything from cancer to autism.

The Indianapolis Police Department told FOX59 that the Department of Child Services is reviewing the case and has removed the child from the home. Police declined to release the names of the parents or any of the child's identifying information. The investigation remains active.

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Woman says she found worm in fish bought at Costco

Published: Saturday, February 17, 2018 @ 11:57 AM

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 12:  A Costco sign is displayed on March 12, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 12: A Costco sign is displayed on March 12, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

A Maryland woman says there was a live surprise in a package of fish she purchased at Costco last week.

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Emily Rhoades Randolph said she purchased a package of fresh cod on Feb. 9 at Costco. On Monday, she recorded video of what appears to be a worm wriggling around a corner of the sealed package and posted it on her Facebook page on Wednesday. The sell-by date on the package is the same day she recorded the video, according to Randolph.

Randolph said in the Facebook post that when she returned the contaminated fish to Costco, the clerk at the seafood counter commented that another customer had returned salmon with worms in it. Randolph said she did not receive an apology for the incident.

Randolph shared the incident to warn others to check their food.

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Melania Trump breaks with tradition again after new affair allegations

Published: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 8:27 PM

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 10:  (AFP OUT) First lady Melania Trump looks as US President Donald Trump is reflected in her glasses. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 10: (AFP OUT) First lady Melania Trump looks as US President Donald Trump is reflected in her glasses. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)(Pool/Getty Images)

Once again, first lady Melania Trump gave off the impression that all is not well in her marriage to President Donald Trump when she broke presidential protocol on Friday following a report alleging the president had an affair with former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal.

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As the Trumps headed to Florida to meet with the victims of this week’s mass shooting at a high school, they began the journey separately. While it’s tradition for the couple to cross the White House lawn to Marine One together, Mrs. Trump decided to forgo the usual walk and instead drove separately to Andrews Air Force Base. She arrived in a separate vehicle ahead of the president and ascended the stairs to Air Force One without him.

“With her schedule, it was easier to meet him on the plane,” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s communications director, explained the situation, adding that she does intend to join her husband in visiting the victims.

The suspicious choice comes just hours after The New Yorker published a report based on an account from McDougal, who provided details about her alleged affair with President Trump between June 2006 to April 2007. At the time, the Trumps had been married for two years, and their son, Barron, had been born a few months earlier.

The White House responded to the allegations in a statement saying, “This is an old story that is just more fake news. The President says he never had a relationship with McDougal.”

This isn’t the first time the first lady has broken with tradition in the wake of infidelity accusations. Last month, she arrived at the U.S. Capitol separately from the president to attend his first State of the Union address. It was her first public event following a bombshell report alleging the president paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her silence after the pair had an affair in 2006.

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Dog food shipments pulled after euthanasia drug found in some brands

Published: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 8:54 AM

Study Found Euthanasia Drug in Dog Food

J.M. Smucker Co. is pulling back some of its shipments after a television news investigation found that some of the company’s dog food tested positive for a drug used for euthanasia.

The company is having shipments of wet canned Gravy Train, Kibble ‘N Bits, Skippy and Ol’ Roy foods returned to the the company, The Associated Press reported.

The move came after Washington, D.C.-based television station WJLA tested 15 cans of the Gravy Train brand and found 60 percent, or 9 out of the 15 cans, tested positive for the drug pentobarbital.

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The station’s investigation started after a woman said that shortly after feeding Evanger’s pet food to her five dogs, they were falling over and convulsing in 2016. She sent the rest of the dogs’ food and the remains of one of the dogs for testing, where the dog was found to have been poisoned by dog food and that the food contained pentobarbital, WJLA reported last week

In 2017, Evanger’s recalled a batch of its Hunk of Beef food because it was exposed to the drug.

Smucker’s officials, which doesn’t produce Evanger’s, told WJLA that it was investigating the results of the station’s investigation on its food and are working with suppliers. 

Smucker’s officials said this week that the low amounts of the drug found in the station’s investigation is not a threat to pets.

WJLA reported that their test showed non-lethal levels but any amount of the drug is not permitted according to federal law.

“However, the presence of this substance at any level is not acceptable to us and not up to our quality of standards,” Smucker’s officials told the AP.

The company said it doesn’t use meat from animals that were euthanized in its pet food products, the AP reported.

For more on the company’s decision to return the products, click here for Gravy Train information and here for Kibble ‘N Bits.

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