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Contractor Seriously Injured By Falling Tree Sues Greenwich For Negligence

A Greenwich Police Department photo taken the day of the accident shows the fallen tree on the vehicle that the victim was exiting at the time he was struck.
A Greenwich Police Department photo taken the day of the accident shows the fallen tree on the vehicle that the victim was exiting at the time he was struck. Photo Credit: Greenwich Police Department

GREENWICH, Conn. — A Milford man is suing the town of Greenwich over the traumatic brain damage he suffered after he was hit by a falling diseased tree last September.

The lawsuit was filed May 3 in Stamford/Norwalk Superior Court by Peter M. Dreyer, a partner of the Stamford law firm of Silver Golub & Teitell, on behalf of Todd Collins and his family.

“It should not take three years to cut down a dangerous tree in a crowded residential neighborhood. Todd is lucky to be alive, but his life is forever altered,” said Dreyer. “It is unfair that Todd and his family will have to suffer because the Town of Greenwich Tree Department disregarded the safety of the public.”

According to the lawsuit, Collins was getting out his van in front of a home on Benjamin Street in Old Greenwich on Sept. 4 when a tree fell on him, causing traumatic brain damage and other serious injuries.

On at least two occasions, the town of Greenwich had received complaints about the tree being a hazard, the lawsuit says. One complaint was from a homeowner who had contacted the town's Tree Department to report that the tree was “half dead” and that he was told by an arborist that it should be inspected by the town, the lawsuit said.

In another complaint, a homeowner said the tree “will become a hazard soon.”

In October 2012, the Greenwich Tree Department inspected the tree and identified it as a hazard to public safety, the lawsuit said. A notice was posted on the tree that the department planned to remove it, the lawsuit said.

"However, they did not remove the tree or take any other action to protect the public during the nearly three years that passed before the tree fell on Mr. Collins," a statement from Dreyer said.

As a result, Collins suffered severe injuries, including brain damage, loss of vision, loss of his ability to taste and smell, hearing loss and numerous broken bones.

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