What Happens When You Are Injured in a Condominium Complex?
Maintenance of common areas acts as a real amenity for those living in a condominium complex. However, sometimes there’s confusion regarding when it comes to the duties of the homeowners’ association. If you’re injured while a guest at a friend’s condo, what happens?
More than likely, you already know that condominiums come in a few varieties throughout New Jersey. In local Jersey City, a condo may be part of a high-rise. Meanwhile, townhouses and former garden apartments form as condominium complexes. They are all organized and guided by the New Jersey Condominium Act.
Although it seems cliché, accidents can happen at any time. For example, you could be visiting someone in one of the luxurious waterfront condos along the Hudson. As you enter the lobby area, you trip and fall because of a huge hole in the ceramic tile. Meanwhile, you hear someone mention that the problem was there for a while. They go so far as to say the surface area was an accident waiting to happen.
All things considered, that last statement provides critical information. Not only will your attorney need to demonstrate a negligent action. Additionally, the fact that the condo association knew or should have known of the dangerous condition are critical to your case.
Once again, in our example, the injuries occurred in the common area. Critical attention will be addressed to the agreement entered into by the homeowner’s association. In some cases, agreements assert immunity. In fact, this may be particularly true when it comes to homeowners making negligence claims.
Negligence Claims in Condominium Complexes
At the end of the year, the New Jersey Appellate Division considered the duty of care expected from condominium associations. In Lechler v. 303 Sunset Ave. Condo. Ass’n, Inc., Thomas Lechler actually owned one of the condos at the subject address. Unfortunately, he suffered severe injuries when he fell down stairs. Mr. Lechler’s contends that he could have maintained his balance if part of the staircase’s center hand railing wasn’t missing.
The stairs themselves were quite wide. In fact, they measured to 158 inches. During the trial, it was determined that Mr. Lechler used the middle of the staircase on a regular basis. Truth be told, he did so many times without incidence. Meanwhile, expert opinion showed evidence of the prior existence of the railing.
One of the issues in the case was that Lechler was a part of the homeowner’s association. Therefore, he belonged to the organization he was attempting to sue for damages. Nonetheless, the association owed a legal duty to keep the premises safe. Additionally, it was their responsibility to “identify and correct dangerous conditions.” This duty extended to residents.
In some circumstances, a condo association may assert immunity when it comes to actions from residents. However, this was not applicable in this case. The Association failed to adopt by-laws disallowing claims from condo owners. Therefore, Mr. Lechler could pursue a case against them.
Whenever you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, it is critical to seek experienced legal advice. The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone will review your case to determine the best cause of action. Contact us to schedule an appointment.