San Francisco

SF Approves $14.5 Million Settlement With Woman Hit by Falling Tree Branch

San Francisco supervisors on Tuesday approved a $14.5 million settlement with a woman who was left partially paralyzed after a falling tree branch struck her in 2016.

Emma Zhou, 36, was talking to her daughters in Washington Square Park on Aug. 12, 2016, when a 100-pound branch broke off, fell about 50 feet and landed on her. She was paralyzed from the waist down and suffered brain damage.

Zhou sued the city in November 2016, alleging the parks department did not sufficiently maintain large trees in the park.

A spokesman for the City Attorney's Office released a statement about the settlement Tuesday:

"Ms. Zhou and her family suffered a terrible tragedy, and as a city we are heartbroken for them," spokesman John Cote said. "Whenever the city may be responsible for an accidental injury, we do everything we can to work in good faith to reach a fair resolution. Given all of the circumstances in this matter, we think this settlement is appropriate."

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