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Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney / Blog / Personal Injury / Can An HOA Be Liable For Injuries On Association Property?

Can An HOA Be Liable For Injuries On Association Property?


If you live anywhere that is subject to an HOA, you already know that the HOA does a lot of things in the community (whether you like that, or how they do it, or not). Because a typical HOA has its hands in so many different things, that means that a lot of things can go wrong.

Who is Responsible?

One of the biggest problems in cases where someone is injured by something an HOA did or did not do, is first ascertaining whether the HOA has any responsibility to begin with. That’s because many HOAs use a mix of parties that have full or partial control over different aspects of the association’s property.

For example, property may be owned, maintained and controlled by a private homeowner, or by the HOA. If it is not on a homeowner’s property, but is in a more common area ,the property may belong to the HOA, or the city or county. And if it is the property of the HOA, there are often third parties that have full or partial obligations, like security companies or landscaping companies or other vendors.

A Lot of Duties

Think about everything that HOAs do. They maintain athletic fields, recreational or pool areas and roads, handle trees and landscaping, and maintain their roadways. They may have public events and gatherings, and often, undertake responsibility for security on the property. They also may maintain elevators, stairwells or larger parking garages.

As a result of all of this, HOA cases can involve a lot of finger pointing, and blame. They can also end up with multiple defendants in the lawsuit.

HOAs Can be Liable

There is no immunity for HOAs—they can be sued just like any other business can. Often, HOAs will try to intimidate people, in efforts to discourage them from suing, but you should not be dismayed; HOA documents and rules cannot punish someone for enforcing their legal rights in court.

HOAs may suggest that “everybody’s dues will go up” if you sue, or that you are somehow hurting the other residents. But most HOAs have insurance or funds for liability—it would be professional negligence for them to expose the community to injury liability without having these safeguards.

After an Accident

If you are injured on association property, there may not be someone from the association rushing to your aid, and to make an accident report, the way that there would be if you were injured in a store.

That means that it is all the more important for you, if possible, to document the scene of the accident. Taking pictures of any dangerous or defective conditions can help.

And as soon as you are physically able to, you should report all accidents to the HOA management, so that they have a record of the accident.

Contact our Rhode Island personal injury lawyers at Robert E. Craven & Associates at 401-453-2700 today if you are injured by an HOA or on HOA property.




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