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Is a homeowner’s association liable for injuries suffered by people who fall on the sidewalks that are owned and maintained by the community?

Yes. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in August 2015 that homeowner’s associations can be held liable for injuries sustained by people who fall on the sidewalks that are owned and maintained by the community. The court determined that a woman who suffered injuries following a slip-and-fall on an icy sidewalk was able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the homeowner’s association. The members of the association pay fees on a monthly basis for such services as removal of ice and snow.

This is a significant ruling because it applies to nearly every condo or townhouse complex in New Jersey, of which there are many. Cuiyan Qian resided in a unit owned by her son in a community that houses those who are over age 55. After slipping and falling on the sidewalk, she injured her wrist and shoulder. It was discovered that the homeowner’s association did not ask its landscape contractor to clear ice from the sidewalks following an accumulation of ice over many days in December 2008.

Quian filed suit against the homeowner’s association, developer, management company and landscape contractor. While the trial court sided with the homeowner’s association, and the appellate court concurred, the Supreme Court reversed that decision. The court said that the community’s bylaws state that the association is responsible for removing ice and snow.

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The highly competent lawyers at Petrillo and Goldberg represent clients with personal injury claims, workers compensation claims, slip-and-fall cases and automobile accident victims. We work for you, and take our job of getting the best possible results for you seriously.

Scott M. Goldberg

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