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dead tree liability

16-Jun-2008 6:05 PM -- mlr

Hello, my neighbor's 50 foot (at least) tree has been dead for over two years. We had been hoping to see them to ask them to remove it (they live on the street behind us, and our yards meet in one corner), but had not seen them before a storm last week caused one of the two major limbs to fall. The limb landed in their yard, but right at the corner, and thus most of the tree landed in our yard, crushing one of our trees (the only thing that is preventing it from falling on our deck), damaging two others. The tree owners have refused to pay for it to be removed, and thus I took care of it today. They keep talking about whose insurance should pay rather than seeing that the tree was removed before further damage occurred. (If our tree it is crushing gives out further, both our tree and this tree will fall on our two story deck.)

I understand the "self-help rule" applies to being able to trim branches that cross the property line, but in this case no branches overhung our property; the tree was just so huge that when the limb broke, it fell toward our property. I am looking for documents or law that I can make a copy of and provide to the neighbor to show that they are responsible. I cannot find a Mass. law that actually refers to this situation rather than the tree trimming law. Any help would be appreciated.

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