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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Negligence as a Basis for Liability

Volume 4 . Chapter 10 . § 10-01

Negligence is conduct that creates an unreasonable risk of foreseeable harm to the person or property of another, and which results in the foreseeable harm. The important point to recognize is that negligence need not be intentional. For example, negligence may include conduct that is simply careless, heedless, or inadvertent.

Churches can be liable on the basis of negligence in a number of ways. First, they can be liable for their own negligence. Examples here include the negligent selection or negligent retention of church workers, or the negligent supervision of church activities. To illustrate, a church may be guilty of negligent selection if it hires a convicted child molester or uses a driver with numerous traffic violations. A church ...

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