Visitor Question

Can we get compensation for injuries after a tree fell on us in state park?

Submitted By: Nan (Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin)

My friend and I were at a state forest family beach/ picnic area. A dead tree fell on us as we were just siting along the edge of the beach. It was not storming, just a little breezy.

The tree was about 8 to 9 inches around and we were both injured. I was hit on my head, and my hands and wrists I used to cover my head, and then across the tops of my knees. My friend was hit across her knees.

We both went to the ER for treatment. I went by ambulance as I didn’t know how bad my head injury was and possible neck injury, also had a possible broken wrist and needed stitches in my hand. Many at the beach tried to help us. I have pictures of the part of the tree that fell on us proving that it was dead.

I took pictures of other dead limbs and trees along the beach and picnic area. Luckily I got back there before they removed three of the worst ones. We are both still in the healing process and don’t yet know what permanent damage we may have.

Will we be able to get our medical bills paid? What is the best procedure to follow to get the claim paid without having to sue the state? When we make the claim, should we send the pictures that prove that tree and others were dead? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Nan,

In many cases, personal injury lawsuits against government entities are prohibited. This is based on the legal premise of Governmental Tort Immunity, also know as “Sovereign Immunity.”

The State of Wisconsin bases its governmental immunity on Wisconsin Statutes, Section 893.82 which provide in part:

“No action may be brought or maintained with regard to a claim to recover damages against any political corporation, governmental subdivision or agency thereof for the negligent inspection of any property…”

In some situations, the State of Wisconsin waives its privilege of immunity and permits injured parties to recover damages for their injuries. Damages can include reimbursement for medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wages.

To seek reimbursement for your injuries you must complete and submit a State Of Wisconsin Notice Of Injury And Claim form. You can download the Notice of Injury and Claim Form here.

The Notice of Injury and Claim Form must be completed and submitted by Certified Mail within one hundred twenty (120) days to the Wisconsin Attorney General’s Office at 114 East State Capitol, Madison Wisconsin, 53707-7857.

Learn more here: Injured on Public or Government Property

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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