If Floodwaters Carried Trees I’d Cut Down River, Am I Responsible For the Clean Up?

‘A county truck came by my house last week and asked why they should have to clean up the trees from my property that floated down the river from last spring’s flood. I had cut them down myself due to damage from a recent tornado and emeral ash borer disease (They were dead). The flood debris is no where near my home, but nearly a 1/8 mile downstream and not backing up water at all. I had people over to see about buying the trees, as firewood, but the flood took them all in one swoop. Should I be worried about being sued to pay for their removal? I have flood insurance. Thank you so much for any information you may have.’

Yes, it is possible that you could be responsible for damage in this circumstance. The owner of the damaged property (in this case, the county) would have to take the position that your actions–or lack of action (not securing the cut wood)–led to the damage.

I would not know whether your insurance–flood or homeowner’s–would cover such an event, but if you do get a claim from the county–and if the dollar amount is sufficiently over your deductible to warrant making a claim–contact your insurance company and they’ll tell you.