Home owners associations play an integral part in our communities. They help maintain property values and provide cohesion amongst neighborhoods, but they’re also tasked with big responsibilities, such as maintaining common areas. When an individual is injured in these common areas, they may turn to legal action in hopes of recovering compensation from the HOA and its insurance company. If your HOA is in that position now, you might be concerned about what that means for your organization’s future. Fortunately, you might have some defense options at your disposals.
Utilizing comparative negligence
One of the best options available to you may be the use of comparative negligence. Under Texas law, an award of damages is reduced by the amount of fault allocated to the plaintiff. Therefore, if someone was injured in a common area while acting in a negligent manner, then you can present evidence that shows that the plaintiff was at least partially at fault for his or her injuries, which could reduce the damages that you’re forced to pay out.
Additionally, Texas recognizes modified comparative negligence, which means that if you can show that the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault for the injuries in question, then you can escape liability altogether. This means that even if your common areas aren’t perfect and resulted in harm to someone, you might not be in as problematic of a legal position as you may think.
Fully consider your options
When a HOA and its insurance company are sued, there are a lot of legal avenues that can be taken. Settlement negotiations may be one way to resolve the matter quickly and with less financial harm than going to court, but you might have strong defense options available to you, too. In order to get a full and accurate assessment of your case you might want to discuss your unique set of facts with a legal team that is well-versed in this area of the law and who will know how to fight for you and your interests.