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Slip and Falls in Places of Worship

By Butler Prather LLP on July 20, 2021

Slip and fall injuries can lead to significant setbacks for victims, and these injuries can occur anywhere. When most people think of a slip and fall injury, and think of grocery stores or sidewalks and parking lots. However, property owners and operators have a duty to ensure the safety of their premises if they allow guests and visitors. This includes places of worship such as churches, synagogues, and mosques. These areas are not immune to lawsuits from individuals who sustain injuries on their premises. Here, we want to discuss how these injuries occur and how to prove liability for these claims.

Slip and Fall Injuries in a Place of Worship

Sudden fall injuries can occur anywhere hazardous conditions arise and where there are people walking around. Unfortunately, this can certainly occur inside of a church or another type of place of worship. Some of the most common causes of slip and fall injuries in these situations include the following:

  • Spills of food or drink that have not been promptly cleaned
  • The failure to use a “wet floor” sign after mopping or waxing the floor
  • Leaky ceilings that have not been repaired and leave water on the floor
  • Lack of safety railings on stairs
  • Unsafe or wobbly stairways
  • Torn or bunched up carpeting
  • Electrical wires running across pedestrian pathways
  • Various types of obstacles in pedestrian pathways
  • Slippery sidewalks or parking lots (rain, snow, ice)

Slip and fall injuries can range from relatively minor to severe and include the following:

  • Major sprains or strains
  • Broken or dislocated hands, wrists, elbows, or arms
  • Broken hips
  • Head trauma, including concussions
  • Back or neck injuries
  • Lacerations or puncture wounds

Proving the Church or Place of Worship is Responsible

When a slip and fall injury occurs, it is crucial to determine what caused the incident. Even if the slip and fall took place in a church, mosque, synagogue, or another place of worship, it is important to determine what happened. The place of worship can be held liable, and their insurance may be responsible for paying compensation to the injury victim.

Just like the owners of any other type of property, the operators of religious institutions do have a duty of care to protect worshippers and guests from sustaining injuries. This means that church management has to take reasonable steps to prevent or correct hazardous slip and fall situations. Failing to do so could result in them being held label.

In order to prove the liability of the religious institution in these cases, it will be necessary to conduct a thorough investigation into what happened. This will include gathering:

  • Statements from eyewitnesses
  • Photographs taken at the scene of the incident
  • Possible video surveillance
  • Documentation of past injuries on the property

A skilled premises liability attorney in Atlanta will be able to handle every aspect of these claims on behalf of injury victims. It is crucial for slip and fall victims to be evaluated by trusted medical professionals who can help properly calculate total expected losses. An attorney will communicate directly with the insurance carrier of the place of worship in order to recover the compensation necessary to pay for the victim’s injuries. If the insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair settlement, it may even be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the place of worship. Even though this is not the desired outcome, it may be required to ensure a slip and fall victim is able to secure the compensation they need to make a full recovery.

Posted in: Personal Injury

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