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?

UPDATED: Sep 1, 2011

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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