A California family recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit after a tree limb in a public park fell, killing a 16-year-old boy. Deaths caused by falling trees and limbs are not as uncommon as one might think. In the last 16 months, four Californians have been killed -- including the mother of a bride at a December wedding -- and in other states people are being injured or killed by falling limbs.
The teen was at the park celebrating a friend's birthday in December 2015. Several teens were sitting on a branch about 20 feet long and a foot thick. The 16-year-old was climbing up the tree to join them when the limb broke off and hit him in his head. The teen, who suffered a skull fracture, fell out of the tree and was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the lawsuit filed by the teen's parents, city workers recently pruned the tree and knew it was diseased. Workers had marked the tree with blue spray paint indicating it was to be removed, but they failed to remove it until after the teen's death.
Three other people have been killed by falling trees and limbs in California in the last 16 months. Earlier this month, the mother of a bride who was getting married at a park in Whittier, died when a eucalyptus tree topple onto the wedding party. Five other people were injured, including a 4-year-old girl who was hospitalized in critical condition.
In August 2015, two California 14-year-olds on a family vacation were killed at a campground in Yosemite National Park after a tree branch fell on their tent. The boys were crushed to death and died immediately. Four years ago a park employee died when a limb fell on his tent cabin.
In October, the family of a Colorado man filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sponsors the troop, the Ogden-based Trapper Trails Council, five Scout leaders, two Boy Scouts and the younger Scout's parents. In October 2014, a 69-year-old Colorado man was riding his motorcycle in southern Utah when a tree fell into the highway killing him. According to the lawsuit, the Scouts had a permit to gather fallen wood, but not to remove green or standing trees. Yet two scouts, ages 14 and 17, cut down the fully grown tree that they should have foreseen would fall into the road.
In September, a $2.5 million lawsuit was filed by the parents of an 11-year-old Oregon boy who died after a large tree fell onto the car his mother was driving. The parents are suing the owners of the land where the tree stood.
Over the summer, an Oregon man filed a $3.1 million wrongful death lawsuit against his neighbor in connection to the December 2015 death of his 60-year-old wife. The next-door neighbor's tree crashed into the man's home in the middle of the night while his wife was sleeping. She died at the scene. According to the lawsuit, the man had spoken with and texted his neighbor multiple times over the course of the year asking him to remove the tree because it was lopsided and he feared it would fall on his house.
If you have been injured or a loved killed as a result of negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.