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Who Is Responsible for Accidents on HOA Property?

Posted in Personal injury on August 31, 2022

If you suffer an injury on a property that belongs to a homeowner’s association, or HOA, in West Virginia, you may have grounds to file a claim against the HOA for failing to maintain a safe premises. Going up against a homeowner’s association, however, is not easy. Like any other business organization, the HOA will typically do what it can to avoid liability for a victim’s injuries and save money on payouts. To successfully hold an HOA responsible for a serious injury, you may need to hire an experienced premises liability lawyer in West Virginia.

When Can You Sue the Homeowner’s Association?

Like any property owner or business, an HOA has a legal obligation to ensure the reasonable safety of its premises. This responsibility involves checking for potential or hidden hazards, promptly remedying known defects and responding to tenant repair requests, and publicly posting warning signs if there are injury risks on the property. If an HOA falls short of its responsibilities (known as breaching the duty of care), it can be held financially liable for preventable accidents, such as:

  • Slip, trip and fall accidents
  • Faulty staircases
  • Structural collapses
  • Parking lot accidents
  • Injuries involving manhole covers
  • Ice or snow accidents
  • Swimming pool or hot tub accidents
  • Flooding or water leaks
  • Structural fires
  • Community gym accidents
  • Crimes due to poor security
  • Dog attacks from a lack of pet regulations
  • Exposure to toxic substances, such as asbestos

If a preventable accident occurs on property that the HOA is in charge of maintaining, the HOA can be held liable for a victim’s medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Common areas are generally within the HOA’s authority, such as clubhouses, lobbies, staircases, pools, gyms, gardens, parks, sidewalks, streets and land that does not belong to homeowners. Holding the HOA responsible for a premises liability accident requires evidence that the HOA breached its duty of care and that this was the proximate (main) cause of the victim’s injury.

Can the Homeowner Be Held Responsible?

If the injury took place inside of a home that is part of a homeowner’s association, the owner of the house may be held responsible instead of the HOA. Most HOA contracts state that the association is responsible for the care, maintenance and safety of common areas, but not private places. This means that the inside of a home and other private properties, such as a yard or deck, are the responsibility of the individual homeowner.

If an unsafe condition that was within the homeowner’s duty to repair caused your accident, you may be able to bring a claim against the homeowner’s insurance company rather than the HOA. In West Virginia, state law also enables you to include multiple parties in your personal injury claim. You may be able to name both the individual homeowner and the HOA as defendants in your case, depending on the circumstances. This could allow you to qualify for greater financial compensation through multiple insurance providers.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

Taking on a case involving a homeowner’s association in West Virginia can be difficult. Rather than only dealing with an individual property owner, you may have to go up against the HOA’s legal team or multiple defendants in pursuit of fair financial compensation. If you find yourself in this situation, contact a lawyer as soon as possible for legal assistance.

A lawyer can assess your case and let you know who is liable for your injuries based on which party was responsible for the area where your accident and injury took place. Then, your lawyer can help you demand maximum compensation from all at-fault parties. For more information about a case, call to request a free consultation at Manchin Injury Law Group.