High winds topple hundreds of trees

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SAN DIEGO -- After the weekend storm unleashed violent winds on San Diego, crews were busy Tuesday cleaning up all around the county.

One crew was working on taking down a large eucalyptus tree at a La Jolla apartment complex. Daniel Lopez of Emma Tree Service said his crews have been working non-stop since Sunday.

“The top came off and it almost hit the house. Pretty dangerous," Lopez said.

The San Diego Public Works department said between Sunday morning and Monday evening, the city received 754 emergency calls. Of those calls, 521 were related to trees or tree damage.

“Also keep in mind, in many of those calls, one call was referring to multiple trees,” said Bill Harris, a department spokesperson.

The county had reports of more than 90 fallen trees.

Hundreds of homes and cars were damaged. In Pacific Beach, a fallen tree crushed a woman's car, killing her.

Evan Walker, a San Diego Property Damage Lawyer, says if you did suffer damage from a fallen tree you should immediately call your insurance company. He said in most cases, you will be covered by auto or homeowner’s insurance.

“A little caveat though -- what’s going to be covered is damage to the roof, damage to the fence. Your policy will not cover tree removal service.”

He said if the tree isn’t on your property, you may be able to claim damage, but you will have to prove there was a prior problem.

“Let’s say the tree had some problem with the roots or some termites to it or branches fell down over time,” said Walker. “The theory is that the neighbor had a responsibility or duty to do something about this tree.”

Lopez said most of the tree damage can be prevented.

“Sometimes the trees get diseases and people don’t even know,” said Lopez. “It’s always important to trim your trees and any branches hanging onto the house.”

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