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Injured at a Church-Sponsored Event: Can I Sue?

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on October 13, 2015 11:34 AM

Our churches bring us together and lift us up in spirit. Every now and then, though, our bodies pay the price. Whether by accident or someone else's fault, injuries at church-sponsored and church-related events happen. And when they do, determining who's at fault can be difficult and determining if you can and want to sue can be even harder.

Here are some legal considerations if you've been injured at a church-sponsored event:

Prayer on the Premises

If you're injured while on church property, you could have an injury claim against the church itself. Premises liability claims are based on a property owner's duty to maintain a safe environment for guests. Therefore the church or other property owners could be held responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on their property.

This is especially true if you have been invited onto the church's property. A property owner must take reasonable steps to assure the safety of the premises, and can be sued if he or she knew or should've known about a dangerous condition and didn't fix it or warn the guests. If the church-sponsored event was on public or government property, you may have a premises liability claim against the government.

Negligence and Non-Accidents

Most injury lawsuits are based on negligence -- the general idea that a person can be held liable for his or her careless behavior if it results in an injury. In a civil lawsuit, negligence claims are based on a duty of care that is owed to another person, a breach of that duty, and an injury due to the breach. So if another person's careless or reckless actions at a church-sponsored event cause your injury, you may be able to sue that person for damages.

Sadly, not all injuries are due to accidents. All too often, children are injured in church, at a church-sponsored summer camp, or by church personnel. As with negligence claims, there are remedies available if you bring a civil claim for intentional torts.

If you have been injured by the negligence or intentional actions of another person, you should talk to an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible.

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