April 17, 2019
Easter weekend is coming up soon, and millions across the Hoosier state and around the world will congregate in all manner of churches to celebrate.
Churches are supposed to be places of sanctuary and fellowship, and most of the time, they meet that requirement. But what happens when you’re injured at church? What if, while you’re attending your church’s Easter service, you slip and fall in the hallways, or faulty stage equipment clips you and injures you? Would the church be accountable in these—and any other—situations?
Your Responsibility Upon Injury
Report, report, report.
Make sure the time and cause of your injury is known right away. If there are security persons or other eyewitnesses in attendance, let them know as soon as you can. The worst thing you could do after an injury is wait to report it. The closer your initial report is in proximity to the injury actually occurring, the more likely your claim—if a claim is warranted—will be credible.
Seek medical attention as well. This should be the first thing you do, especially in serious or critical injury situations. Not only is this vital for your health, but receiving proof of injury and proof of treatment from a medical professional is critical in any premises liability claim.
And those eyewitnesses from earlier? Make sure you have statements from them to verify exactly how your injuries occurred.
Proving Premises Liability
Even the most public places have certain legal boundaries in place when it comes to the liability of their patrons. Churches are no different.
To prove the church should be accountable for your injuries, you’ll have to establish both the surrounding context of your incident, as well as what the church could have reasonably done to have prevented it.
The key here is “reasonably.” Even the most attentive caregivers can’t handle problems they’re unaware of. A small spill in a bathroom, while hazardous, isn’t necessarily the church’s responsibility if you slipped and fell within minutes of the spill occurring. However, in the event of a major hazard—like faulty electrical equipment that poses an obvious threat—the church, as the host responsible for keeping a safe environment, is much more likely liable.
To put it simply, a church can be held accountable for someone’s injury if the incident that caused it was:
- Well known or easily foreseeable
- Left alone far longer than any host should have allowed
- The direct cause of the person’s injury.
Help from an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer
An Easter service should be a place for worshipers to meet safely and celebrate the holiday as a single fellowship. Injuries should be the last thing any congregant has to worry about. If you or someone you know has been injured at church, and you believe the church itself may be responsible, Hensley Legal Group may be able to help. Call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim. Our Indiana personal injury lawyers are here to help.