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Liability for Injuries on HOA Property

Colburn Law

When an injury occurs on property managed by a Homeowners Association (HOA), determining liability can be a complex process. You may wonder who may be held responsible, whether you can file a lawsuit against the HOA, and the components required to establish a legal claim. In these situations, it is important to speak with a Washington premises liability lawyer who can fight for your right to fair compensation.

Suburban house with overlay: Liability for Injuries on HOA Property

Who Is Liable for Injuries on HOA Property?

If you’re injured due to the negligence or intentional actions of the HOA, you have the right to seek legal redress. However, the HOA must have failed to uphold a certain duty of care to you, which can change depending on your visitor status and association with the organization.

  • For homeowners or residents, the HOA usually owes the highest duty of care. They are viewed as invitees; to protect invitees’ safety, HOAs have a duty to actively monitor for hazards, rectify them, and warn homeowners or residents about potential dangers.
  • Social guests are viewed as licensees, which are afforded fewer protections against potential hazards. While the HOA is required to rectify hazards and warn visitors about them, the organization does not have to perform active monitoring for licensees.
  • Trespassers are usually owed the least duty of care, with the HOA only having a responsibility to avoid causing intentional harm. 

Can You File a Lawsuit Against a HOA?

It’s important to remember that an HOA operates like any other business entity and can be held accountable for any harm caused by its actions. HOAs have a duty to ensure that their properties are safe. If they neglect this responsibility and you sustain injuries as a result, you can initiate legal proceedings against them.

How Do You Prove a Legal Claim Against a HOA?

Proving negligence on the part of an HOA involves several steps. You and your attorney will need to gather enough evidence to prove four important facts:

  • Duty of Care: First, it’s crucial to establish that the HOA had an obligation to maintain a safe environment. All HOAs have an inherent duty to manage and maintain their property responsibly. Your status as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser will establish the appropriate degree of this duty.
  • Breach of Duty: Once the duty of care is established, you must demonstrate that the HOA failed in this duty. This often involves detailing how the property had dangerous conditions which the HOA either knew of or should have known.
  • Causation: Next, you will need to show that the HOA’s breach of duty directly caused the injury that you suffered. Merely having a hazardous condition on the property is not sufficient; this condition must be the cause of the injury for a lawsuit to be valid.
  • Damages: Lastly, it’s necessary to provide evidence of losses due to the accident, which can range from medical bills to property damage. Documents such as medical bills, receipts, correspondence with your employer, and pay stubs can be especially helpful.

Do You Need a Lawyer for Your HOA Lawsuit?

Considering the intricacies of the law, especially in cases against established entities like HOAs, legal representation becomes invaluable. Lawyers with expertise in this domain can help you understand your legal options, gather critical evidence, and fight to protect your rights and best interests. After an injury on HOA property, contact a Washington premises liability attorney to discuss your next steps.