Dispute in Florida Drowning Case Pt. 2
Personal Injury Lawyer | A provision in the U.S. firm’s policy allowed coverage to be extended to individual association members. However, that coverage was limited to liability that arose out of ownership, maintenance or repair of parts of the community not reserved for the member’s exclusive use or residence.
On the surface, this would seem to indicate that because the pool was part of a common area, the policy would extend additional coverage. And in fact, the trial court ordered that the U.S. firm extend coverage to her under both its policies. However, that determination was reversed on appeal.
The appellate court reasoned that any potential liability that might have been covered under the policy hinged on whether the homeowner had “ownership” of the pool. The court found scant evidence that this was the case. Although she was an owner within the community which entitled her and her guest (the plaintiff’s son) to use the pool, the policy did not extend coverage for liability arising out of “use” of the pool.
The court cited Florida Statute 720.301(2), which indicates that such property is owned by the association – not individual property owners. Additionally, there was no evidence presented in the form of deeds, association articles, covenants or plats that proved the homeowner had a specific ownership interest in the pool or any of the other common areas.
This does not mean the plaintiff will be unable to collect damages. Assuming she proves liability on behalf of the homeowner and the association, she may still be entitled to collect damages from the homeowner’s individual insurer, as well as the association’s insurer. However, she won’t be able to collect from the U.S.-based insurer for both the association’s alleged liability as well as the homeowner’s.
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