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Church Not Responsible for Parking Lot Injuries

Employees were not aware of slippery conditions.

Key point: Churches ordinarily cannot be responsible for snow or ice-related slips and falls in their parking lots unless they were aware of a dangerous condition and had a reasonable opportunity to correct it.

A New York appellate court ruled that a church was not legally responsible for injuries sustained by a woman who slipped on a patch of ice in the church parking lot.

The woman had attended a meeting of a local community group on the church's premises. On her way to her car, she slipped and fell on a patch of snow-covered ice and sustained serious injuries. She sued the church. The court ruled that the church was not responsible for the accident, since it was not aware of the ice and snow accumulation (no church employees were present at the time of the meeting) and the church did not have a reasonable opportunity to remove the snow and ice.

The icy condition developed only two hours ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • November 1, 1993

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