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Premises liability: UH student struck by broken tree

There are two accredited arboretums in Hawaii, one of which is the University of Hawaii at Manoa that is  recognized as a "Tree Campus USA" by the Arbor Day Foundation. While the students have the privilege of moving about the beautiful campus, constant monitoring of the trees is essential. A recent incident in which a student was injured might lead to a premises liability lawsuit.

Reportedly, the incident occurred on a recent Tuesday when a student was sitting on a bench in the shade of an Ombu tree, reading a book. Unexpectedly, the tree broke into two, striking the woman in the head. She says it felt like a blow from a baseball bat, and she blacked out for a few seconds. She says she only went for medical evaluation when a headache persisted into the following day.

A physician diagnosed her with a concussion -- explaining the fact that her nausea continued for days. A spokesperson for the University reportedly apologized to the young student and explained that the facility practices a stringent care plan for the trees. He insisted that the program involves constant monitoring and the inspection of every tree at least biannually -- often more frequently.

Any person who suffers an injury on public premises may have grounds for filing a premises liability claim to recover financial and emotional damages sustained. However, negligence on the part of the property owner must be established. This process could be challenging and might be best navigated by an experienced Hawaii premises liability attorney who can assess the viability of a claim before proceeding with the pursuit for recovery of damages.

Source:, "Woman suffers concussion after tree falls on her at UH campus", Allyson Blair, Oct. 13, 2017

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