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Feldsott Lee Pagano & Canfield
Orange County Homeowners Association Law Firm

Can HOA members trust the board to keep common areas safe?

Part of what many California residents look for in a residence is a safe place to raise their children. HOA members rely on the boards to keep the common areas safe and free from hazards that could harm them or their children. When that does not happen, and injuries occur, some homeowners may look to the board for restitution.

This was the case for one family in a neighboring state whose teenage son suffered an injury that changed the course of his life and the family's life forever. The 15-year-old sat on a swing in order to send a text. He had no idea that the 42-pound crossbar above him was about to give way. When it did, it fell on his head and crushed a portion of his skull.

The teen now suffers from permanent brain damage. He has migraines, muscle spasms and memory loss that he will have to live with for the rest of his life. It may not be surprising that he also suffers from depression.

The Las Vegas family filed a lawsuit against their community's HOA. It was discovered that this was not the first time the swing set had failed. The HOA board was warned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the swing set manufacturer that routine maintenance and inspections were needed, but the HOA figured it was just a way to bilk more money from the association.

In this case, a jury agreed with the family that the HOA disregarded the safety of the community members. HOA members here in California who suffer injuries in a common area may discover that the board knew about a danger and failed to do anything about it. In that case, it may be appropriate to file a lawsuit seeking restitution for the financial losses and other damages resulting from the injuries suffered.

Source: ktnv.com, "HOA hit with $20M verdict over swing set negligence", Darcy Spears, Feb. 23, 2018

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