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Damages from the Tree owned by State

Discussion in 'Other Ownership, Use & Privacy Issues' started by basyalhr, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. basyalhr

    basyalhr Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Virginia
    We just found out that our main sewer line was clogged and damaged by the roots of the tree owned by Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) as the tree from the easement (between the sidewalk and the road) and it's roots broke through my sewer line. When I found out the tree was causing the problem, I called VDOT and they came for inspection of the tree and cut the tree; however, when I filed a claim against VDOT for the damages it caused (since I had to repair my main sewer line), they responded saying, they did not find any negligence on VDOT's side; therefore, declined my claim. I had simply claimed for the charges I had paid to plumber to replace that damaged piece of the main sewer line. I still believe that VDOT's property caused damaged to my property and cost me those charges, therefore, VDOT should be responsible for those charges.
    Any legal advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    No.

    For VDOT to be liable there must be negligence which, basically, means that VDOT knew or should have known that the tree roots presented a hazard to your property and ignored the hazard.

    Not only is that impossible to prove (so you can forget compensation from VDOT) but even you did not take the precautions that you should have taken to prevent roots from getting into your sewer line, a common problem that all homeowners should be aware of and take steps to prevent.

    Why didn't you? Well, obviously, you didn't know it was happening so how could VDOT know it was happening? Answer: VDOT couldn't know anymore than you could.

    But now that you know that roots tend to grow into your sewer line you'll need to take your own precautions (root barrier, copper sulfate treatment periodically, etc) because, if you don't, nobody is ever going to pay you for repairing your sewer.
     
    Michael Wechsler likes this.

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