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In Georgia, the owner of a tree is liable for damages and injuries from a falling tree only if he or she has preexisting knowledge that a tree is diseased, decayed, or otherwise considered to be dangerous. If the owner has no reason to suspect a problem—the tree has leaves and its general appearance is normal—then, in general, the owner is not at fault. However, if the owner reasonably should have known, then he or she is responsible.
The law in most states is that if your tree, or any part of the tree, falls on your neighbor’s property as a result of a naturally occurring event (such as a hurricane or snowstorm), then you are not liable for the damages. To recover damages, the injured party would need to seek reimbursement from their insurance company.
When a tree damages the neighboring property as a result of the carelessness of the tree owner, then the tree owner may be liable for the damages. If a tree limb is hanging for a long period of time and the owner neglected to maintain it despite the obvious threat it posed, or ignored complaints from the neighbor about the condition of the tree, then the owner would likely bear responsibility for the consequences of the falling limb.
The location of the trunk of the tree determines ownership. If the tree trunk is on your property, regardless of how much the tree limbs overhang on a neighbor’s property, then the tree belongs to you. A tree trunk that is situated on the property line between the two properties is equally owned by both parties and both are responsible for its care and maintenance.
By law, you have the right to trim branches and limbs that extend past the property line. However, the law only allows tree trimming and tree cutting up to the property line. You may not go onto the neighbor's property or destroy the tree.
If a tree hits your home or other insured structure, such as a detached garage, your standard homeowners insurance policy covers the damage to the structure, as well as any damage to the contents. This is true for trees felled by wind, lightning or hail. Just make sure your policy is paid up!