In today’s society, trees are viewed as a safe part of the urban environment. There is an expectation you can safely sit or park under a tree in the neighborhood without fear of the tree falling over.
When a tree accident occurs, issues of liability, responsibility and “who should pay” come to the forefront. Four conditions that determine the presence of liability associated with tree failures include:
- Duty, the obligation or responsibility to care for trees.
- Breach, failure to act in a reasonable manner.
- Cause, that the breach of duty caused the injury to take place.
- Harm, damage or injury.
Premise liability suggests property owners have a duty to maintain their property and protect the public from foreseeable tree hazards. A property owner who fails to protect the public from a known, foreseeable hazard resulting in injury or property damage may be held liable in a lawsuit.
San Diego certified arborists are involved in managing tree risk and hazard evaluation is a component of risk management. Arborists act to reduce risk by examining trees, rating their likelihood of failure and recommend a course of action to abate the hazard and reduce the risk. Tree risk assessment and tree inventories are procedures that demonstrate a property owner’s pro-active action to meet their “duty of care”.
San Diego County Tree Risk Management Services:
- Tree risk inspection and assessment
- Tree health inspection and assessment
- Assessment summary report including analysis and recommendations.
- Tree risk policy and management plans for commercial properties, public open spaces, urban forest managers, agencies and jurisdictions.
What is Tree Risk Assessment?
By definition, a tree hazard cannot exist without a potential target. A target is a person or object that would be injured or damaged by a tree failure. Therefore, hazard assessment not only focuses on the tree but on the potential presence of a target.
Managing tree risk can be a subjective process. Our ability to predict tree failure is still limited, tree risk assessment techniques involve examining the tree for structural defects, associating the defect with a known pattern of failure and then rating the degree of risk.
The three components of tree risk assessment are:
- A tree or tree part with a potential to fail.
- The environment that may contribute to the failure.
- The person or object that would be injured or damaged by a failure (known as the target).
By conducting a thorough evaluation, the defective parts of a tree that are likely to fail are identified so they can be treated or abated. However, hazard ratings derived from risk assessment are only a tool and alone cannot strictly define a course of action. A skilled San Diego arborist understands ratings are relative and different treatments might be prescribed for trees with identical ratings!
Use a trusted professional,