Should property owners be held responsible if someone gets hurt by a falling tree limb on their property? That is just one of many questions to arise after a premises liability accident on Mother’s Day in Passaic, New Jersey. A “flash storm” incident left one man dead and several others injured after lightning struck a tree and caused branches to fall on the victims.

Official reports show that a 28-year-old man died because he was struck in the head by a falling tree branch. Six other people were also struck by limbs at the celebration, and all of them were treated at local hospitals for non-life threatening injuries. This was just one of several similar incidents throughout the city – police officers shut down other streets because of falling branches damaging vehicles and obstructing thoroughfares.

In cases like this, property owners can sometimes be held liable for failing to properly maintain trees on their land. This can be true for municipal property owners, with cities sometimes facing lawsuits for wrongful death in connection with a dangerous property condition. Although it is not clear that such an option exists in this case, victims who have been injured or killed in tree branch incidents may be entitled to financial compensation.

Property owners have a responsibility to keep their land clear of hazards for visitors, vendors and customers. Even those private property owners may be held liable for their failure to maintain a safe property for family gatherings and other events. Victims who have suffered injury because of a negligent property owner deserve financial compensation for their injuries, medical expenses and other related costs. No matter what, a visitor deserves to be kept safe on private property.

Source:, “Fatal lightning strike kills man, injures 6 at Mother’s Day barbecue,” Steve Strunsky, May 15, 2017