Is a gated community’s HOA liable for damaged caused to a resident’s automobilie by the automatic gate closing on the car as it exited?

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Is a gated community’s HOA liable for damaged caused to a resident’s automobilie by the automatic gate closing on the car as it exited?

While exiting our gated subdivision, the automatic gate closed on my car causing damage to the right quarter panel. I had pulled up to the gate to exit. Traffic was backed up in the left lane due to the traffic light. I waited for the gate to fully open and slowly exit pulling to the right and forward to make a right turn. I did not stop in the exit but continued moving a careful pace and the gate began closing causing damage to my new car. I do not want to file on my insurance and want the HOA’s liability insurance to repair my car.

Asked on September 1, 2011 Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Legally, they would be liable if at fault in some way: e.g. the gate was improperly programmed, installed, or maintained, or defective in some othe way (though if the problem was with the gate or its installation, you should also name the gate manufacturer or contractor in any lawsuit, since they, too, would be responsible parties). If the accident occured because the gate functioned properly but you did not clear it in good order (i.e. you pulled thhrough too slowly), then they would not be reponsible.

The problem from your standpoint is that if they refuse to submit the claim to their insurer, you would have to sue them in order to seek compensation; you cannot force someone to submit a claim to liability coverage if they don't want to, but instead have to bring a lawsuit.


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