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David Jimenez wanted to show his gratitude after his wife's ovarian cancer was cured, so he offered to clean the cross in front of which he had prayed for her recovery.
But while he was scrubbing the 600-pound crucifix, it fell on him and crushed his leg.
The damage was too much, and Jimenez's leg was amputated following the incident. Now the father of three is unable to work.
Fellow church-members collected food and money for Jimenez and his family after the accident. But he also wants the church's administration to admit fault for what happened.
Jimenez prayed to a statue of the cross outside St. Patrick's Church in Newburgh, N.Y., and his wife asked the parish priest if Jimenez could clean the statue to show his gratitude.
The church agreed, and so Jimenez showed up one morning to scrub the crucifix. But it became unhinged and toppled over, crushing his leg.
The whole statue was held onto its base by a single screw, without an anchor system, according to Jimenez's lawyer. But no church member ever warned Jimenez that the statue might be unsafe, reports the New York Daily News.
When it comes to injuries on private property, the property owner generally has a responsibility to protect invited guests from known dangers. If the church knew or should have known the statue was poorly tethered and didn't tell Jimenez, it could be liable for his injuries.
On the other hand, if the risk wasn't known or obvious, then it might be that the church won't be held liable to Jimenez in this case. A court would have to decide that.
The fact that the church gave Jimenez permission to clean the crucifix, and didn't mention its weak support system, could be a problem for administrators if the lawsuit goes to trial.
If it sounds like Jimenez is being too litigious, consider the fact that he was trying to do a good deed for the church, but ended up permanently disabled. A warning could have changed all that.
The church's insurance company did not offer a settlement, reports ABC News. The case is set for trial in a few weeks.