Parks Department Could Be Liable for Injuries Caused by Falling Tree Branches
A recent audit performed by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer reveals that the city Parks Department is paying contractors who are failing to trim trees that need trimming. In fact, the audit indicates that every borough but Queens has failed to maintain proper tree trimming practices.
The longer trees go without being trimmed, the more danger there is of branches or limbs falling off of the trees onto people or vehicles below. In the best-case scenario, the city is currently wasting taxpayer money on tree maintenance that isn’t being properly performed. In the worst-case scenario, New York City and the Parks Department would be liable for any injuries or deaths caused by falling limbs.
The audit revealed the following specific problems:
- In Manhattan and Staten Island, approximately 20 percent of the money paid to contractors went to trees that were not pruned or should not have been pruned
- Approximately 20 percent of trees in Brooklyn and 15 percent of trees in The Bronx were trimmed despite being smaller than the minimum size for trimming
- The Bronx paid for at least 243 of 1,923 total pruning jobs without bothering to check the work
- Manhattan did not track streets where trees were pruned
One police officer has already been hospitalized after a branch fell on his head, and many experts say that there are locations throughout the city where trees in both city parks and on streets are in dangerous condition.
If you suffer an injury from a falling branch, be sure to speak with a personal injury attorney about your legal options. You could be eligible for compensation in a negligence claim against the Parks Department.