Trees in Louisiana

westie1(z8 LA)September 12, 2004

Does anyone know what the law is, in Louisisana, (or where I can find it) regarding who is responsible for damage caused by fallen tree limbs and/or trees? And who is responsible for removing fallen limbs and/or trees? I am also trying to find out if limbs hanging over my property line (onto my neighbor's lot) are my responsibility or his.

I have a beautiful white oak and my neighbor is trying to have me cut it down because a limb fell on a car in his driveway a few months ago and another one fell on his roof damaging 13 tiles. I moved into this neighborhood 2 years ago because of the abundance of trees and had every tree in my yard inspected then. My tree expert told me that this white oak was one of the best ones in my yard. Please help as I do not want to lose this beautiful tree!!

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live_oak_lady(Zone 9)

As far as I know from the battles I have saving live oaks, if your tree is hanging over the property line onto your neighbor's property, he or she can cut it at the property line and no farther.
Damages done by your tree are usually your responsibility--check your homeowner's insurance policy.
Fight for your trees!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2004 at 8:33PM
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westie1(z8 LA)

Thanks live oak lady! Insurance apparently considers it an "act of God" if a live tree limb falls, so my neighbor's homeowners insurance will cover his damage. But, I still can't find out if the limbs hanging over his property are considered his or mine. Also, I can't find if I am responsible for clean-up on his property (example: a limb falls in his driveway without damaging anything). If anyone knows this please let me know.
I think, like you said, that he can cut limbs hanging over his property, but I don't think I have to let him on my property to take care of that.?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2004 at 10:04PM
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soundgarden(z8/ New Orleans, La)

I would think that if the tree is in your yard and it's healthy, your neighbor can't tell you what to do.
Where is the tree located? As a homeowner, I've got to say that nothing drives me more insane than trees planted on property lines. My last house and my current house are surrounded by trees that neighbors planted right against the fence. I'm always having to pick up junk that falls into my yard, including twigs with really long razor sharp thorns that I tend to find with my bare feet.
I would have an arborist come out and see about possibly shaping the tree to keep it away from his property before he hires someone to just lop it off at the fence line.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2004 at 10:07PM
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I have also understood that once a limb is on the neighbors side of the line they can cut at will. They can not come cut the whole tree down only that limb up to the line.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2004 at 5:41PM
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live_oak_lady(Zone 9)

There are more feuds over trees and property lines than anything in the neighborhood. A neighbor can cut your tree branch off at the property line if he so desires. Someone just cut a beautiful draping oak branch at the property line off of a 250 year old oak. I could hear the oak scream from my vantage point. Sometimes you can reason with a neighbor but legally he can cut at the property line.
C'est la Napoleonic code.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2004 at 2:08AM
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Django(z9 LA)

A neighbor can only trim a tree limb that encroaches on his property if it substantially interferes with the enjoyment of his property. He may not just trim it to the line, although you may have to get an injunction (or TRO) to stop him. Louisiana changed the law several years ago regarding strict liability for damages caused by falling limbs. For liability to attach to the tree's owner some knowledge of a defect in the tree must be proved.

As a practical matter it is neighborly to pay the damaged neighbor's insurance deductible.

I have some experience in this as a lawyer and a former pecan tree owner.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2004 at 2:26AM
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westie1(z8 LA)

Thank you for the response. I have one question for you regarding your comments on it being neighborly to pay the neighbor's insurance deductible. From my understanding, insurance deductibles are to save the insurance companies from handling small nuisance claims. my DH and I choose a large deductible to save money each year, so if my deductible is $2,500 and my neighbor's is $500, would it be fair for him to have to pay up to $2500 if his tree damages my property when we would only have to pay $500 if our tree damages his property? Why should he pay more when we choose to save money?
BTW, we did pay half of the car damage just to be neighborly, but he is now calling all the time with ridiculous demands for money.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2004 at 7:16PM
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Callaghan(z9 La)

On Saturday night a neighbors huge hackberry tree fell from her yard, crashed through the wood fence and landed on our roof over our bedroom. Lucky for me, the tree was stopped by the brick structure of our house or I would be dead. I was asleep in my bed right under where the tree fell. For years my husband has been asking my neighbor to please cut the tree for the obvious reasons. He knew the tree had a root disease. She did not cut the tree and now we are at a odds with her about responsibility. We have homeowners and so does she. Our deductible is 500.00, but the point is that she was aware of the tree problem, but there is no way for us to prove it. She is now talking to us like an insurance agent and is hesitant to discuss anything. I would like to be able to clear the air and get on with the repairs, but I also would like to know, for my peace of mind what others in this situation think about the fallen tree law. Thanks. Callaghan

    Bookmark   January 28, 2005 at 4:45AM
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