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Church Liability for Accidents May Depend on Victim's Status

Court outcomes depend on whether a victim is "invitee," "licensee," or trespasser.

Key point: Whether a church is legally responsible for injuries occurring on its property depends in many states upon the status of the person who is injured.

• The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that a church was not responsible for injuries sustained by a visiting choir member who slipped and fell on church premises. A church choir was asked to participate in the anniversary celebration of another church. Upon arrival at the church, the choir members participated in a buffet lunch that was presented as part of the anniversary activities. One of the choir members slipped and fell after eating lunch. She and her husband sued the church, alleging that its negligence and "wantonness" caused her injuries. A trial court dismissed the lawsuit, and the choir member appealed. The state supreme court upheld the trial court's dismissal of the case. It based its decision on the status of the ...

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Posted:
  • September 1, 1995

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