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Loren
Loren, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  30 years experience representing clients.
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Our community, which permits golf cart use, is divided by a

Customer Question

Our community, which permits golf cart use, is divided by a state road. Last year, the community decided to build a golf cart parking lot for residents on both sides of the community. In the state that we are in the use of golf carts on public roads is illegal. What concerns me is liability for the residents of the community. If a golf cart is struck by a car when crossing the public road it would not be unreasonable for the golf cart driver ( or his beneficiaries) to sue the community association (ie. us) since the association requested funds from all residents to build the golf cart parking lot "for everyone". Can you please provide some suggestions as to what we might do to minimize - or even eliminate, our liability? We have an insurance policy but I believe it is unlikely they will cover for an accident occurring on a public road. Thank you
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Loren replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am JudgeLaw and I will do whatever I can to answer your question and provide excellent service.

I am sorry to hear of your dilemma. I realize how frustrating this is for you, but I believe I have information which you will find helpful.

You can require any residents who use the parking area to have a parking sticker and require they provide proof of insurance to obtain the sticker.

Additionally, your master liability policy would cover any claim against the association regardless of where it occurred. Also, crossing the road is not the same as using the road. So, that would not violate the law.

It is my privilege to assist you. Let me know if you need further information.  I hope I have helped you beyond your expectations in the service I have provided to you.  I am here for you.

Please remember to rate my answer when our communication is completed so I will be compensated for my time in providing you with the information you requested.

If you feel the need to provide a low rating, please stop and reply to me via the REPLY button with whatever issue or clarification you may need. I will happily answer your follow-up questions and assist you until I am able to explain the answer to your satisfaction. Please also remember that I cannot control whether the law is favorable to your situation, so please do not penalize me for having to deliver bad news.

Thank you.

JudgeLaw
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Thank you, but two questions still linger. 1). Why would the association insurance pay for claims that arise that are NOT on association property (an accident would occur on the public road, which is not covered in our policy, and 2) why is there a distinction between crossing the road and traveling on the road. As I understand it in pennsylvania both acts are illegal. Thank you.

Expert:  Loren replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for following up with me.

The policy should cover any claim against the association. The insurance carrier is legally obligated to tender defense. Any limitations would be in the policy. You can buy coverage to cover the crossing of the road.

Frankly, I am basing the golf cart crossing exception on a statute related to golf courses and resorts. According to Pennsylvania Vehicle Code § 1302(3) & (14) golf cart is a vehicle exempt from registration when the golf cart is "used for the transportation of persons engaged in the game of golf while crossing any public highway during any game of golf" and also when "used for golf course or resort maintenance when such vehicle does not travel on public roads in excess of one mile and the property on both sides of the public road is owned by said golf course or resort."

I would believe that the exception that would apply to a resort would also have application to an HOA.

Thank you.

JudgeLaw
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Well on the first part I will certainly look into it, and see if our insurance does, or can cover us. That would be great. i still don't see how the golf course exception helps us Though. We are not a resort and do not have any golf or recreation for that matter. It is a planned community. If crossing is in fact illegal does that fact alter your conclusion? Thanks.

Expert:  Loren replied 9 months ago.
I am fairly certain that crossing the road is not illegal, but if it were I think your plans would be stonewalled at the county level when you attempted to get a permit to build the parking lot if it would require the use of the road to cross for access.

With regard to the statute, iI think if it is excepted for a golf course bisected by a road, there is no reason a planned community could not use it cross a bisecting road, as well. The issue in the statute relates to registration and a very limited use (crossing). That is the same use as yours.

Thank you.

JudgeLaw

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