SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — A woman who was left paralyzed after being hit by a falling tree branch in San Francisco’s Washington Square has filed a claim against the city.
36-year-old Emma Zhou was watching her two daughters play when the branch fell on her. She sustained a brain injury and severed spinal cord, and is now paralyzed below the waist.
The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting doctors estimate that Zhou will need to spend another 16 months in the hospital for rehabilitation.
Zhou’s attorney says the tree was improperly pruned using a ‘tree topping’ method. The lawyer says the upper part of the 50-foot-tall tree was removed, which allowed its lateral branches to grow more quickly.
He says the accident would have been avoided if the city had followed its own standards.
City officials have said the trees are safe, and describe the incident as a freak accident.
Zhou’s family launched a GoFundMe page to raise $50,000 for her care.