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If A Tree Falls In The Urban Forest...

...who is responsble for the damage it causes? Can an injured pedestrian or motorist seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost earnings, property damage and other costs associated with the fallen tree?

According to NYC Parks:

The Department of Parks & Recreation has jurisdiction over all trees growing in the public right-of-way, including trees along streets, parkways, and in city parks. Within Parks, the Forestry Divisions are responsible for the maintenance of our nearly 600,000 street trees. Initially, newly planted city trees are watered and maintained by a tree planting contractor for two years. Once the two-year period has passed, responsibility for the care and maintenance of street and park trees is transferred to the Borough Forestry offices. There, forestry crews manage and maintain our mature trees to improve their longevity and the benefits they bring to us.

Benefits?

Yes. In an era where it is easier than ever to lose touch with nature, you may not realize all the benefits that street trees and other city greenery provide. According to a study conducted by Danish researches for the International Federation of Parks and Recereation Administration, there is a correlation between nature and public health, such as:

  • Reducing stress and mental disorders
  • Increasing the effect of physical activity
  • Reducing health inequalities
  • Increasing perception of life quality
  • Less obesity, cardiovascular symptoms, headaches, ADHD, and stroke mortality
  • More concentration capacity

Obviously, these benefits do not mean much if you find yourself on the wrong end of a falling tree. What can you do then to preserve your quality of life? An experienced personal injury attorney at Block O'Toole & Murphy can help you pursue a claim for financial compensation against the entity responsible, which in most cases would be a NYC department.