Can I Sue My Homeowners Association After a Slip and Fall Accident?
April 17, 2019
Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common causes of serious personal injuries in the home. Falls are the number one cause of death for older adults. Slip and falls can occur because of leaky pipes, inadequate lighting, irrigation system malfunctions, and other hazards. If you are a member of a neighborhood homeowners association, this entity could be liable for your accident and injuries. A premise liability lawyer can review your case for signs of homeowners association negligence.
What Is My HOA?
Your homeowners association, or HOA, is an organization in charge of maintaining and selling properties within a neighborhood or development. The homeowners association has a board of directors responsible for maintaining homes and responding to tenant issues. If you live in a home under a homeowners association, you had to sign a contract before moving into the property.
Homeowners association contracts can be lengthy and detailed. Most set terms for which maintenance tasks the homeowners association will take care of, and which are your responsibility as the homeowner or tenant. A typical contract may state that the HOA will tend your landscape, for example, while it is your duty to replace torn carpets. The language of the contract may also protect the HOA from liability in certain scenarios.
How Do I File a Claim Against My HOA?
Following a painful slip and fall accident, it is up to you to determine who may be liable for your damages. First, identify the hazard or defect that caused your slip and fall. Then, determine whether someone else’s negligence caused your accident. If the dangerous element falls under the homeowners association’s jurisdiction according to your contract, the HOA may be accountable. If you slipped and fell in an icy driveway, for example, and your contract lists deicing as an HOA responsibility, the HOA may be liable.
Pursuing a claim against an HOA takes gathering evidence against the defendant. Evidence may include a copy of your contract, photographs of the element that caused your slip and fall, and testimony from eyewitnesses or others in your neighborhood. Once you have built your case, you will need to file a demand letter with your homeowners association describing the accident and presenting an amount you will need to settle your case. The HOA will respond to your letter with an acceptance or denial, and settlement negotiations will ensue.
How Do I Prove Negligence?
In a case against your homeowners association, you (or your attorney, if you hire one) will have to prove negligence to obtain compensation. Proving negligence during a claim or lawsuit takes evidence of a few main elements.
- The homeowners association caused or failed to prevent the property hazard.
- The homeowners association knew or reasonably should have known about the hazard, yet failed to remedy it
- You or someone else notified the homeowners association of the hazard, but the HOA still did not make repairs.
- You suffered injuries or damages as a result of the homeowners association’s failure to fix the hazard.
Proving that your slip and fall would not have happened were it not for the HOA’s negligence may take help from a law firm. A Las Vegas slip and fall attorney can revisit the scene of your accident, collect any available evidence, and present your case before a judge or jury.
What Does the HOA Insurance Cover?
One issue that may come up in your claim is the homeowners association’s protection from liability based on your contract. Note, however, that a contract will not prevent HOA liability if the HOA was negligent in contributing to your accident. HOAs typically carry liability insurance to pay claimants in these situations. These insurance policies could cover your past and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages depending on your settlement or jury verdict. Hiring a Las Vegas personal injury attorney to represent your case could help you maximize financial compensation.