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Injuries on the Playground

Court rules church not liable for injuries based on gross negligence.

KEY POINT 6-08 State and federal laws provide limited immunity to uncompensated officers and directors of churches and other charities. This means that they cannot be personally liable for their ordinary negligence. However, such laws contain some exceptions. For example, officers and directors may be personally liable for their gross negligence or their willful or wanton misconduct.

* An Arkansas court ruled that a church was not liable on the basis of gross negligence for injuries to a young child who was pushed off a piece of playground equipment by another child. A mother was required to sign a release when she enrolled her 3-year-old daughter (the "victim") in a church's preschool program. The release specified that the church would be liable only for gross negligence. The victim was injured when she was shoved off a piece of elevated playground equipment by a 3-year-old boy. The mother ...

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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:
  • May 1, 2008

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