In the early morning of Saturday, January 21, 2017, tragedy struck the residents of a house in Ukiah, California, as a massive oak tree, weakened by weeks of rain, uprooted and crashed through the roof of the structure, killing 36-year-old Erika Tyler. Tyler was asleep at the time with her boyfriend and a young child, both of whom escaped injury.
According to a report in the Press Democrat, Tyler lived in fear of the tree collapsing: “Tyler had asked their landlord to remove the tree, which had steel cables supporting some of its larger branches, but he told her it was too expensive, according to her mother, Connie Tyler, of Ukiah. With housing difficult to find in Ukiah, they moved in anyway, but the tree weighed heavily on her mind.”
Tyler survived the initial crash of the tree, but was trapped under the collapsed roof and huge tree branches. It took rescue workers more than five hours to free her body.
The Press Democrat also reported that the family of Erika Tyler is considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the landlord. When a person dies as the result of another’s negligence (called a “wrongful death”), California law permits family members to seek compensation for the loss of the decedent’s love, companionship, and affection, the financial support (salary and wages) the decedent would have provided, and hospital, funeral and burial expenses.[Note: post updated to state structure was a house, not an apartment building.]