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Family Sues After Firefighter Killed by Falling Tree

A lawsuit has been filed against Biltmore Estates after a family said that a rotting tree lost a branch that crushed their family vehicle as they were entering the area. The resulting accident killed the father leaving the family grief-stricken. All four individuals in the car, including two children, were injured in the accident. The wife was recording as the family entered the estate. The footage shows the chaos of the incident. The wrongful death lawsuit names Biltmore and two other related companies for contributing liability to the accident.

The family accuses the defendant of knowingly leaving a massive rotting tree in an area where it could cause injury to guests entering the property. They claim the defendants knew about the danger and elected not to do anything about it.

While certainly not your typical variety of premises liability lawsuits, this case will fall under the legal theory of premises liability. It is no different than Walmart leaving products in the aisle or unsafe pools of slippery liquid on the floor.

Allegations Made y the Plaintiffs

Under the banner of premises liability, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant knew about potential danger and left it unremedied until it caused an injury. While the vast majority of premises liability lawsuits involve slips, trips, and falls, this one involves a falling tree branch. It is no less actionable. These types of accidents are much more likely to occur on construction sites than elsewhere, but a property owner has a duty of care to remedy any dangerous condition that could injure a member of the public. The plaintiffs need to establish that the company either knew about the dangerous condition or should have known about the dangerous condition had they exercised an ordinary amount of care. Just pretending the problem does not exist is not a defense to a premises liability lawsuit. The plaintiff can still claim that the property owner should have inspected the property to avoid injury to guests.

What Will the Defendants Say?

The plaintiffs contend that the tree was rotted and left on the property after it was dead. But was it? How long did the tree stand dead before the injury occurred? Was the injury predictable? If the defendants had exercised ordinary care, would they have recognized the intrinsic danger to their guests? In this case, the answer is yes. The defendants attempted to fix the tree by installing supports. They just did not work. Now, the plaintiffs may be able to blame the property owner, but the property owner will blame the company that tried to keep the tree upright and failed. The plaintiffs contend that removing the dead tree prevented risk. Meanwhile, the owner of the estate and the company contracted to deal with the tree will point the finger at each other to reduce their company’s personal liability.

Contact a New York Premises Liability Attorney Today

Glassman Law Group represents the interests of plaintiffs injured on the premises of a business. Call today to schedule a free consultation and we can begin preparing your suit immediately.


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