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Woman Died In Pearson Park In Anaheim When Large Tree Fell Onto Ford SUV

tree accident attorneyANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA (February 20, 2023) – A woman was killed in Anaheim after a large tree fell onto her Ford SUV at Pearson Park on North Harbor Boulevard. 

Orange County officials are saying that the accident took place around 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. A woman was sitting alone in a maroon-colored Ford SUV when a large tree fell onto the vehicle. 

Firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene of the collision in order to help the victim. The woman was extricated from the SUV but later died due to the severe nature of her injuries. 

It took crews several hours to remove the tree. Officials are still unsure what may have caused the tree to fall. 

Liability For Anaheim Accidents Involving Falling Trees

It has been estimated that nearly 100 people are killed every year in the United States in accidents involving falling trees. Many more people are seriously injured. Trees are much more likely to fall over during storms and after periods of very severe weather. While these incidents may seem like freak occurrences, they are often very predictable. There are a number of signs which indicate that a tree has become structurally unstable and is prone to tipping over.

A tree may have dead or falling branches.

  • A tree may have missing bark or lesions. 
  • A tree may have fungus on the roots which can lead to a weakened root structure. 
  • A tree may have cracks in the trunk which could indicate the tree is splitting. 

Depending on the facts of any case, a municipal entity like the city of Anaheim could face civil liability for an accident involving a falling tree. According to California Government Code 835, a public entity is liable for an injury caused by a dangerous condition on its property. This is typically the case insofar as (1) the property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury, and (2) the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which occurred. Moreover, it must also be demonstrated that (1) the dangerous condition was created by a wrongful act or omission of an employee of the public entity working within the scope of their employment, or (2) the public entity had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition and failed to correct it despite having sufficient time to do so. 

Consider, for example, (Cordova v. City of L.A. (2015) 61 Cal. 4th 1099, 1105.) “Public property is in a dangerous condition within the meaning of section 835 if it ‘is physically damaged, deteriorated, or defective in such a way as to foreseeably endanger those using the property itself.” Generally speaking, cities have a legal responsibility to properly care for all of the trees that are on public land. This is especially true for trees in public parks that could pose a hazard to pedestrians. City officials should hire a certified arborist to inspect the trees on their property. Trees that are potentially dangerous may need to be removed. If a city failed to inspect trees in a public park or failed to remove dangerous trees, this could form the basis of a negligence claim. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any accident involving a falling tree. 

  • Photos of the accident site should be taken.
  • City inspection records of the tree in questions should be sought.
  • Medical records should be preserved.
  • The tree that fell should be examined by an arborist.

It can be hard to know where to begin after any accident involving a falling tree. But it is important for accident victims to know that they do have rights. The family of any person that is killed in an accident with a falling tree may have legal recourse through a wrongful death claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover many of the costs that can come with the sudden loss of a loved one. Sadly, though, city officials will often do everything that they can do to evade liability when someone is killed by one of their trees.

Investigating An Anaheim Park Accident

We at Samer Habbas & Associates, PC extend our deepest condolences to the family of the woman that died in this accident. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. It is our sincere hope that city officials will take action to prevent other tragedies like this. All of the trees at this park should be inspected by a certified arborist. 

Do you need more information about an Anaheim park accident involving a falling tree? Our team of consumer safety advocates are here for you. We care deeply that accident victims are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support after an incident we are here for you.  You can reach out to us anytime at 949-727-9300.