There are several cases in Iowa; one was even argued all the way to the Iowa Supreme Court. Today I see there is another involving a toddler from Fontanelle. The lad was out in the yard playing when a tree fell and a branch fell on him killing him. A lawyer had previously asked me what a person should do in these instances when they are considering whether to file an insurance claim or else file a claim against the landlord.
I suggest several things while you’re in that stage of not knowing whether you want to pursue a claim. Keep in mind the insurance industry would rather you didn’t and they will make it very difficult to prove your claim should you later decide you want to. So some of what I’m advocating is to preserve the evidence while you make a decision about litigation.
- Photograph the fallen tree and limb.
- Photograph the portion of the tree still standing.
- Secure some of the rotted tree that shows the disease process was visible to the naked eye and to someone standing on the ground.
- Secure a portion of the tree that has the disease process so it can later be analyzed.
- Secure the portion of the tree that struck the person affected or the car that was damaged.
- Dig out any old photographs showing the tree before it came down.
- Make a list of previous tenants or owners of the property who may be valuable witnesses.
- If you aren’t good with a camera hire a professional to take the tree photographs.
- At least speak with an attorney about your rights and obligations should you later decide to pursue litigation. Being prepared isn’t a crime; it’s the smart thing to do.
- If you don’t know what you’re doing or if you want to do it, get a lawyer involved so they can look at it objectively.
Fontanelle toddler dies after tree limb falls on him, Creston News Advertiser
Adair County Sheriff’s Office, Adair County, Iowa
Fontanelle Police Department, Fontanelle, Iowa – Chief Pat Henry
FONTANELLE — Authorities in Adair County said a toddler died from injuries he suffered when a tree fell on him Sunday afternoon.
According to Fontanelle Police Chief Pat Henry, 3-year-old Nathan Hutt of Fontanelle was playing in the yard in Fontanelle when a large tree was blown over and one of the limbs landed on top of him. Emergency medical personnel were called to the scene of the accident at about 12:46 p.m. Sunday.
Funeral services for Hutt are currently pending.