The Pastor’s StudyPosted on July 6th, 2012.
QUESTION: A visitor to the church fell in our sanctuary while attending an event sponsored by a group unrelated to the church. She has now sued the church – shouldn’t she sue the group that was holding the meeting instead?
ANSWER: Religious organizations may be liable for injuries while their premises are used by outside groups. The question of liability ultimately turns on which party assumed the responsibility for and controlled the condition that caused the injury. Outside groups using a premises sometimes may be left unattended, but to minimize or avoid liability, the organization should be expressive in communicating the state of their property’s condition before the time of use, reasonable in identifying and correcting any dangerous conditions before use, and insistent that the supervisors of the outside group familiarize themselves with the premises and present any questions to the organization before use.