Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Personal Injuries on Church Property and During Church Activities
Key point 7-20.1. In most states, whether a church is liable for injuries occurring on its premises will depend on the whether the victim is an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser. Churches, like any property owner, owe the highest degree of care to invitees, a lesser degree of care to licensees, and a very minimal degree of care to trespassers. As a result, it is more likely that churches will be liable for injuries to persons who meet the definition of an 'invitee.'
Premises Liability

An Ohio court ruled that a church was not responsible for injuries sustained by a woman who slipped on a wet floor and broke her leg while attending a wedding reception on church property since the wet condition was an obvious risk. A woman (the 'victim') was seated with friends and family at a wedding reception in a church. While on her way to the restroom, she stepped in some liquid, slipped and fell. She did not see the liquid on the floor, but three witnesses did see it. No one saw an actual spill occur or any cup or ice discarded on the floor, but the area was wet from the spilling of beverages being carried from the serving area and had been wet for most of the evening. One witness claimed that she had seen liquid on the floor for 45 minutes to an hour before the victim slipped. However, no one suggested prior to the victim's fall that the wet condition was a hazard, or expressed any apprehension about passing through the area.

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Posted: May 1, 2006
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