Trees That Fall on the Road Are Not Always an Act of God

Many people believe that an act of God defense rules out any case where a tree would fall in the road causing injuries to a motorist.   Part of the S.C. jury instruction provides that “an act of God” means an unusual, extraordinary, sudden and unexpected manifestation of the forces of nature in a manner that man cannot resist.  The law also provides that the term “act of God” applies only to those events in nature which are so extraordinary that the history of variations in the climate and other conditions in the particular locality will provide no reasonable warning of such an event.  The South Carolina law also provides that a jury must determine that the “act of God” was the sole cause of Plaintiff’s injuries.  In other words, the Defendant must prove that he was without negligence which contributed as a cause of Plaintiff’s injuries. 

A thorough investigation of a tree fall can lead to evidence that shows that private homeowners or public landowners can be held liable for trees that fall in the road that cause death or injuries to traveling motorists.  Investigations into the history of falling trees as recorded by a government agency is a source of information that can lead to liability on behalf of a government agency.  Also, the age and health of a tree can also be a determining factor on whether or not a case can be prosecuted for a falling tree in the road.   

This firm has brought litigation with regard to a falling tree case that is currently pending in Lexington County, South Carolina.  The following is a link to a complaint that was filed in the case which outlines theories of liability that can be alleged in a case involving a falling tree. 

https://publicindex.sccourts.org/Lexington/PublicIndex/PIImageDisplay.aspx?ctagency=32002&doctype=D&docid=1643032267144-518&HKey=546765508111311210378681005479794780117811161198888868947975497112677182846569681181054374984756 

If you have a case involving a fallen tree that injured a motorist in South Carolina, a proper investigation is required to take the proper steps to determine if liability exists.  Please contact our firm to discuss whether or not you or your loved one may or may not have a case with regard to a falling tree. 

Blog post written by Attorney Tom A. Killoren

Disclaimer: Any result the law firm may achieve on behalf of one client in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

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