Driveways – Determining Responsibility For Root Damage

Q: We have an awkward property lot line issue. Our subdivision in thirty years old. Most of the driveways have cracks and broken sections My neighbor believes that roots from a tree on my side of our lot line have ruined his driveway. How do we determine potential liability for damage to a concrete driveway?

A: I asked an esteemed barrister friend for advice. He consulted some of his tortuous cohorts and the general feeling was that a property owner could dig up the root under his own driveway even if it killed the neighbor’s tree, but trying to assess liability for the damage done by the roots of a tree in the yard next door was a stretch. One lawyer theorized that it might be an “act of God” and compensable through the driveway owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy. In court, it could mostly depend on the judge and the specific circumstances of the situation.