Fallen tree leaves family's home unlivable, whose responsible?

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Wednesday marks the eighth day Brittney Lawler, her husband and three kids have lived in a pop-up camper.
The family was forced to live in this tiny space after last Tuesday’s storm sent a tree crashing through their mobile home.

“I was terrified it was my 3-year-old who was in here with us so she was freaking out,” Lawler said.

“Lot of smoke started rolling out of the back of the house,” said neighbor Steven Swan. “We went back there there were some cords in the back of the house that caught fire.”

The fallen tree left the mobile home unlivable.

“There’s a big hole in the roof insulation hanging down sheet rock all over the place,” Swan said.

The Lawlers say they’ve only had the mobile home a few months and were working on getting the deed in their name so they hadn’t gotten insurance yet.

We spoke to the man who owns the property next door. He says he hasn’t been out to see the damage first hand but says he had no knowledge the tree was dead so he’s not responsible for the damages.

Our legal expert Chris Tritico says the same thing. If a property owner’s tree is diseased or dead and they know about it then they’re responsible for any damages the tree causes. If a homeowner has no reason to think a tree from their yard could fall they are not responsible.

“Me personally, I didn’t know the tree was rotted we’ve had people tell us to have them cut down we just never knew how to contact him himself,” Lawler said.

The Lawler’s say they will be talking to an attorney. In the meantime Thanksgiving for this family isn’t going to happen this year.

“I just want to be in a house before Christmas,” Lawler said.

To help her family get through this difficult time, Brittney Lawler set up a GoFundMe page