Slips & Falls and Your HOA

If someone is injured on HOA property, they can hold the association liable for damages. Sure, there are always people trying to play the system, but many truly suffer an injury and deserve compensation. However, these cases can bankrupt an HOA. Here’s what you need to know to prevent these cases and make them as easy as possible to deal with.

Carry Insurance

The HOA should not only carry liability insurance but make sure that they have enough and that it’s the right kind/s. An experienced insurance agent for HOAs can make sure that your board’s coverage is up-to-date in all of these areas.

If you have insurance, be sure to report all slip-and-fall cases to them as soon as you hear about them. Many boards resist reporting these because they fear their premium will skyrocket. While it may go up, but most likely by much less than the board would pay to pay for the damages out-of-pocket. Let the insurance do its job, even if premiums do rise.

When in Doubt, Perform Maintenance

There are property inspection companies who can come look at the HOA’s property and make recommendations with safety in mind. They’ll let you know if something might be dangerous or if there are relevant recent cases that you need to know about. Either way, they’ll make sure you have the knowledge you need to make decisions about your property.

It can be tempting to put off repairs that aren’t essential. Things like sidewalk cracks can be there for a long time without requiring repair. However, these are also tripping hazards. Repairing things before there’s an issue can save you a lot of headaches later!

Watch the Weather

Weather-related hazards can also cause problems for HOAs. While Floridians don’t have to worry much about ice and snow, it can rain a lot here and hurricanes can cause major problems. Be sure that your HOA has a plan in place to get rid of debris and clear pathways quickly, so people don’t trip and fall and get hurt on the property.

Make sure that individual owners understand what is their personal responsibility and what is the HOA’s. Owners may need to clear their own sidewalks and yards or provide drainage options, depending on how your rules are written.

Make Specific Rules

Make sure that owners know how to report hazards to the HOA. Some boards even write it into their rules that owners need to report these as soon as they notice a problem. When people get hurt and everyone says, “It’s been that way for weeks!” it often turns out that no one actually reported the problem. Unless you have board members on every street, it can be hard to find everything that comes up if people don’t speak up.

If you would like some assistance in making sure your HOA property is safe and that you have the right insurance coverage, contact us at AMI today. We’ll make sure things are working for you!

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