. Negligence is the failure to exercise the degree of care considered reasonable
under the circumstances, resulting in an unintended injury to another party. (Civ.
.) To prove negligence, the injured party must establish the following elements:
The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff;
The defendant breached that duty of care;
This breach caused loss or damage to the plaintiff; and
The defendant should compensate the plaintiff for that damage.
Damage to the plaintiff caused by the defendants want of even scant care, that is, an act or omission that is aggravated, reckless or flagrant in character, which is likely to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm to persons, property, or both. (Decker v. City of Imperial Beach
(1989) 209 Cal.App.3d 349, 359.) The gross negligence standard is substantially and appreciably higher in magnitude than ordinary negligence.Strict Liability
. Strict liability is the
imposition of liability without establishing negligence or intent to cause harm. The plaintiff need only prove that the
defendant caused the loss. Many homeowners mistakenly believe that their associations are strictly liable for any damage or loss they may suffer even if the HOA was not the cause of the loss. For example, a plumbing leak damages an owner's unit does not automatically make the association liable for the damage. The standard for HOA liability is negligence (unless the governing documents establish a different standard). Accordingly, the HOA must have had a duty to maintain the particular plumbing line, the HOA breached that duty (the board knew or should have known that the line needed repair and failed to take action to repair it), and the HOA's breach of its duty caused a loss to the owner. Under those conditions, the association may be liable to the owner for the loss he/she suffered.Statute of Limitations
. The statute of limitations for an action
against an association or board member for negligence is
three (3) years from the discovery of the wrongful act. (Smith v. Superior Court