Eight children were injured Sunday by a falling tree at Brookside Park in Pasadena on Tuesday.
The incident happened at about 4:45 p.m. at the Pasadena park, located in the 400 block of North Arroyo Blvd. The tree, a 75-year-old pine tree, uprooted and fell on a group of six to eight-year-olds at the park.
Two of the injured children are enrolled at Kidspace Children's Museum, located across from the park. They were waiting at the park to be picked up by their parents.
A Pasadena search and rescue team, firefighters and police officers cut and tore limbs from the tree as they searched for trapped victims. According to the Pasadena Fire Department, three children suffered critical injuries and five suffered minor injuries.
Brookside Park, a 62-acre park, is run by the city of Pasadena and located next to the Rose Bowl.
Public works officials were chopping up the tree Tuesday evening, as they attempted to figure out why the tree fell. According to Pasadena city spokesman William Boyer, there is no indication so far that the falling of the tree is connected to the state's drought. An arborist hired by the city will inspect the tree tomorrow to determine the cause of its fall.
Is the City of Pasadena Liable for Injuries Caused by the Falling Tree?
California law requires property owners to inspect their trees to determine if they are unhealthy or hazardous. If a tree is determined to pose a hazard, the property owner must remove braches or the tree itself. The legal test is: did the city of Pasadena know, or should they have known, that the pine tree posed a hazard? If the answer is yes, then the city is legally liable for injuries caused by the falling tree.
The fact that the tree was located at a heavily used park increases the city's duty to inspect and maintain trees at the park because harm to park users by a falling tree is foreseeable.
An arborist's inspection of the tree right after it falls is important is assessing the property owner's liability. The arborist can determine whether the tree was properly pruned and maintained, and what condition it was in prior to the fall, which will help determine if the city of Pasadena should have known that the tree posed a danger.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a falling tree or falling tree branches, a Pasadena personal injury lawyer at McGee, Lerer & Associates, is available for a free consultation. Our husband and wife team of accident attorneys have over 40 years of combined experience representing injury victims and their families.