During high winds a tree branch fell on my car while parked at my workplace. The cops were called, but the responding officer said that it was private property and my employer's responsibility. He told me to take pictures and I got the impression that it wasn't "an act of god" kind of situation. It seems there were at least 2 similar incidents in the past few years with previous employees. The store manager was unhelpful and said it was my problem.

This makes me wonder in a situation where a tree falls on a car in a private lot is it considered an act of nature? or does liability fall to the owner?

1 Answer 1


Probably not

In order to establish negligence as a Cause of Action under the tort of negligence, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant:

  1. had a duty to the plaintiff,
  2. breached that duty by failing to conform to the required standard of conduct (generally the standard of a reasonable person),
  3. the negligent conduct was the cause of the harm to the plaintiff, and
  4. the plaintiff was, in fact, harmed or damaged.

What standard of conduct do you think your employer failed to conform with?

Owning a tree or a parking lot is not, of itself, negligent. Further, the branch fell "during high winds" - the wind is not within your employer's control.

Now, if you can prove that your employer knew that the particular tree was ill and likely to drop branches in high winds and failed to do anything about it, that might be considered negligent. I know of a case where a council who had refused permission for a tree to be removed because it was "healthy" was found negligent when that tree latter (in calm winds) dropped a branch on Jaguar.

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