Liability for Injuries on HOA Property

Premises Liability | July 26, 2021

When an injury occurs on another person’s property, victims often wonder whether or not they are entitled to any compensation. This is particularly true if there were hazardous conditions on the property that contributed directly to the injury in question.

What if an injury occurs on an HOA property? Will be HOA be responsible for covering the medical bills and other expenses?

Here, our Sacramento premises liability attorneys will discuss premises liability law in the context of homeowners associations. Because of the prevalence of HOAs throughout California, this is an issue that comes up quite often.

Who Is Liable for Injuries on HOA Property?

Any person who sustains an injury while on an HOA property may be able to file a lawsuit against the individual or entity that caused the injury. If the injury is caused by a homeowner inside of the HOA, then that homeowner will likely hold liability. If the HOA acts negligently in some way by failing to maintain the property in a safe condition, per the HOA bylaws, then the HOA may indeed be legally liable for injuries caused by its negligence.

Can You Sue The HOA?

It is possible to sue an HOA if an injury is caused by an unsafe condition on the property. Just like any other business, an HOA is a business organization that can be held responsible if its negligence causes an injury. The HOA can be compelled by the court to pay damages to a victim if they lose a civil personal injury case.

When Can You Sue An HOA?

Homeowners associations have a duty to maintain their premises in good working condition, and this duty is almost always going to be outlined in the bylaws of the community. If the HOA fails to do what is necessary to ensure safety on the property, and a person is injured as a result, then the injury victim can file a lawsuit against the HOA.

In order for an injury victim to successfully win a personal injury case against the HOA, they must prove the following elements:

  • That the HOA had a duty of care to maintain the premises in a safe condition.
  • That the HOA breached their duty of care. This element can be shown by proving that there were unreasonably safe conditions on the property at the time of the accident.
  • That there were injuries as a result of the HOA’s breach of duty. It is necessary to show that the injuries were caused by the breach of duty and not some other incident.
  • That there were damages sustained as a result of the injuries. This can include medical bills, property damage, lost income, and more

Comparative Negligence in HOA Lawsuits

In many cases, an HOA will try to get out of paying for injuries by saying that the injury victim caused their own harm. However, California operates under a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that injury victims can still recover compensation even if they are up to 99% at fault for causing their own injuries. However, the total amount of compensation an injury victim receives will be reduced based on their percentage of fault for the incident.

A Skilled Attorney Can Help

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in an accident on a property controlled by an HOA, you need to work with a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer will be able to gather the evidence needed to prove what happened. They will ensure that their client is evaluated by a trusted medical professional and handle all communication with insurance carriers and the homeowners association.