Tree fell from my front yard across road. Neighbors can't drive to work. Do I have any liability?

Tree fell from my front yard across road. Neighbors can't drive to work. Do I have any liability?
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Here’s an update. People started driving around the edge of the tree into my neighbor’s yard. This is a neighbor who maintains his yard like a gold course.

I called the city, they said they would come out. In the meantime, I used a movers coupon and bought a Husqvarna chainsaw at Lowes. I cut it back enough that a single lane of traffic could get through. Then the city showed up and cleared the tree to the edge of the road a day later.

A guy on craigslist who had his old truck covered in Trump stickers agreed to cut up the rest of the tree for firewood. He also said he’d clean up the lawn a bit in exchange for the wood. He actually did a really good job and everything is now back to normal. Rednecks to the rescue :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the update. You definitely went above and beyond by buying a brand new chainsaw (glad you used a coupon though). You have some terrible neighbors for sure. At least you know you’re on your own when the next natural disaster comes through since they can’t even be neighborly when it snows.

Wait. So OP has terrible neighbors because they were trying to live their everyday lives and OP posted on a forum, asking if they should be a normal, nice person (remove the tree somehow) or not (sip hot cocoa)? Oh, alright.

Edit: or was that all sarcasm?

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No sarcasm at all. The OP had no responsibility to remove the tree. He doesn’t maintain the road and he is not a lumberjack. The people blocked in were just as responsible as the OP was. They “needed” to get out and were blocked in. Yet they still did nothing AND tore up another neighbor’s nice lawn driving around the tree. People that take less responsibility than the people around them for things that are out of everyone’s control are at worst, terrible, at best, not neighborly.

I saw my neighbor trying to start a car with a dead battery on Sunday. It wasn’t my responsibility to do anything about it. I took my jump box over and helped him get it started. I’m not a particularly good person. But I’m not terrible. And I like to think I’m neighborly. It’s just what people are supposed to do for their neighbors.

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You must be a blast at parties.

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Two simple questions:

Do you think the OP went above and beyond his responsibilities as a homeowner by buying a brand new chainsaw and cutting a 1 lane wide chunk of the tree out of the road by himself? If not, why not?

Do you think blaming your neighbor for a tree from his property falling and blocking the road after a freak snowstorm AND demanding that he remove it when it is 100% the responsibility of the locality where you live and pay taxes makes you a jerk? If not, why not?

I think that doing the “neighborly” thing is the right thing to do. Whether that means buying a chainsaw (or renting one; no reason to buy one if you don’t have the need), doing the work yourself, calling in a company to do it, whatever… it’s just what you do–like you went and helped your neighbor jump their car. Especially if it’s something that came from your yard. Whether it’s technically your responsibility or not, you have an obligation (unless you plan on moving soon, or don’t care about possibly making your life hell via your neighbors’ new dislike toward you), to clear the tree.

OP didn’t have to get a chainsaw. OP could have, maybe, hooked a tie strap up to a vehicle and pulled the tree to be parallel with the roadway, and left the tree as-is for the town (or whatever) to clean up. There are so many possible solutions to this problem.

I think my biggest issue with the OP’s post is the attitude they had. Sitting back and drinking cocoa, knowing your neighbors can’t get to work, to the hospital, to the store, etc. is pretty F’ed up, IMO. Especially if you have the means to do something about it. That’s utter laziness out of spite. “Because I can” isn’t an acceptable attitude toward life, in my opinion. I don’t have time for people like that.

…and I say all of that as someone who isn’t the nicest person around. I don’t go white knighting around town at all. But if this were me, and it was my tree blocking an entire community of people, I’d probably do something about it if the town couldn’t get here the same day to fix the problem. That’s called being a normal human being and not some entitled jerkoff who wants to sit back and drink cocoa, while others suffer. That type of person is a waste of fresh air.

But he didn’t. He didn’t have a chain saw. There was a foot of snow on the ground, so the tow strap idea is terrible. Why did he have any more responsibility to clear the tree than anyone else who was inconvenienced? It was an Act of God that brought the tree down onto public property. Why wasn’t every homeowner that was blocked out there with the OP with their hand saws? How is them sitting back and drinking cocoa the neighborly thing for THEM to do why the OP does all the work? Is it something psychological about it being a tree that fell from his property that you are hung up on?

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Sounds like pretty much everyone involved were jerks, more worried about being burdoned with an inconvenience than with doing anything about it. Rather than detouring through someone’s yard, any one of those “trapped” neighbors could’ve called the city just as easily as OP. He didn’t indicate how long it took him to finally get around to calling, but it was taken care of 24 hours later. But all anyone wanted to do is point fingers and play defense.

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By the way we actually agree on the neighborly thing the OP should do. Look back at my post 15 here. The OP did exactly what I said was neighborly. It was his neighbors that weren’t neighborly.

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He didn’t have any more responsibility. But it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have any responsibility.

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Then we agree. OP’s neighbors abdicated their shared responsibility and messed up another neighbor’s yard in the meantime. OP did all they work. They did nothing. OP = neighborly. Neighbors = terrible.

Maybe I’m being a pedant, but as I mentioned before, what is getting me is OP’s attitude. I think I may have been less disgruntled if OP didn’t say things like, “sip hot cocoa.” I agree that anyone (perhaps, everyone?) could have attempted to solve the situation instead of driving through a neighbor’s yard (maybe people DID call the town–we don’t know). But just like OP didn’t have all the responsibility, they still had some responsibility.

I wouldn’t call OP’s neighbors “terrible” because they didn’t go buy a chainsaw (how were they supposed to get out, initially?) to chop up a tree. We’re lacking context. What if OP’s neighbors are all old or disabled folks who can’t operate a chain saw? I know I’m reaching, but I don’t think you can pass judgement on OP’s neighbors based on the facts we have. What you can pass judgement on (IMO) is that OP was very arrogant in handling the situation, again IMO.

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we never got pics…

:frowning:

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Okay. We’re definitely not as far off from each other as we were a few posts ago. I didn’t take the OP’s comment about sipping cocoa as a true indication of his attitude. I mean, he did come here asking for people’s opinions and then ended up buying a chainsaw and doing all the work, so I think it’s safe to assume the cocoa thing was him just kidding. You’re right about the context needed to evaluate the neighbors. Just like you determined the OP’s attitude based off the cocoa comment, I determined his neighbor’s attitude from his statement that “they are blaming me and demanding that I chainsaw it.” He didn’t even own a chainsaw, what sort of ridiculous demand is that? Not to mention that it is the responsibility of the city. But we don’t really know how that interaction went or the context around it. Maybe they aren’t terrible. Maybe they were just frustrated and took it out on the OP at first. And maybe they would have helped, but didn’t see when the OP went out to cut it up. We don’t know.

But based on what the OP wrote about them and what he did, it sounds like he was the bigger person and actually shelled out financially in addition to his time and labor while they did very little. That’s all I know for sure. The rest is indeed just conjecture.

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Summary:

Tree got removed and the OP now has a bad-ass chainsaw.

Be sure to remove the fuel if you won’t use it for a while and go ahead and buy and extra chain - you’ll be glad you did…
Oh and maybe consider starting it up once each spring and fall… just to make sure it is ready.
Ready for what?
Exactly…

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Shoulda gotten an electric version if he’s only going to use it once a year or less. 6 years ago a huge limb from a tree in the back yard fell onto my deck.

Some 20 inches in diameter. Bought this Worx 18" electric saw. https://www.worx.com/chainsaws/chainsaws-pole-saws/18-inch-electric-chainsaw-wg304-1.html Cut up everything in an afternoon.

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He might also have to buy generator unless he’s got a plug near the road.

Pics after it was partially cut back by me

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It took two months to clear the street?