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Insurance Failure for a Church?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Bartimaeus, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. Bartimaeus

    Bartimaeus New Member

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    I remember an incident from the 1990's that actually happened in Crown Point, In. I just wondered if anyone wants to comment on the viability of this happening again today or..........does anyone know if this has happened again recently?

    Event: Church, __________ Baptist Church allows their building to be used for a wedding and a visitor to the wedding, 78 yr old lady, member of another VERY large Baptist Church in the area, refuses advise and help not to use a stairwell and attempts to go to the basement and falls breaking her leg.

    Action: Lawsuit against _________ Baptist Church. The courts ruled against the church and orders the church to pay the damages.

    Final Outcome: Liability insurance coverage is totally depleted. Injured person moves against church including in the lawsuit trustees and deacons for the remainder of damages. Pastor is also named.

    Any thoughts?
    Thanks Bartimaeus
     
  2. J.Wayne

    J.Wayne New Member

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    The person suing is NOT Christian! and could care less for any one other than her self.
     
  3. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303 Active Member

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    What situation you talking about?

    I lived close by Crown Point in the 1990s and I am not familar with it.
     
  4. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member

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    Christians may at times act contrary to scripture but that doesn't automaticaly make them lost.


    Suing fellow Christians is against scripture. ( Something Missouri and folk from SWBS should learn) And if the church was incorporated individuals can not be named in such a suit. Such behavior is is a reproach on the ministry of Christ.
     
  5. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant Active Member

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    I am sure someone could again sue a church but the environment for these kinds of suits is far different today. Rember that the 90's included the suit against McDondalds because their coffee was hot and burned a persons thighs when they put it between their legs when they drove. :laugh:

    It might also depend on whether the church was negligent. Suing another Christian is absolutely against the Bible, but not knowing the circumstances, maybe the church just said, "tough luck" to her.

    RevMitchell is right that if the church is incorporated. They can be named but can't be personally held liable.
     
  6. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member

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    The problem with negligence is that seems to be determined today not by the actual definition of the word but by who has the greater need.
     
  7. Dale-c

    Dale-c Active Member

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    I am not familiar with the situation but it seems to remind me of this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIllRdSzSug


    How is anyone else liable for something that I do?

    Americans in general have lost all sense of responsibility.
    Sadly the church is no exception.
     
  8. Jkdbuck76

    Jkdbuck76 Well-Known Member

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    I wonder how she could have sued the deacons and trustees individually. Could someone with some lawyer-fu (as opposed to kung-fu) help here? I thought that in a church, there was corporate liability.

    I live in Indiana. Never heard of this. However, anyone can sue anyone for anything. Sad.

    Does a church need liability insurance? Yes. And that is because we live in a litigous society. We are to be as wise as snakes.
     
  9. donnA

    donnA New Member

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    Our church is incorporated and a person can not sue deacons, pastor, etc, I believe also we are heavily insured.
     
  10. Dale-c

    Dale-c Active Member

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    Sadly, you are probably right.
    Well you ARE right about society.
    As for insurance, it would be awkward to make people sign wavers before coming into church.
     
  11. EdSutton

    EdSutton New Member

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    We have been insured (I presume adequately, according to the trustees, whom I do trust), but only incorporated for about 20 years. In fact, if my memory is correct, I was the first to bring that up into discussion, in our church, we did some work, and actually secured some of our property, which originally had a deed saying that if we ceased to be a church, or ceased to use the original one acre piece of property originally 'donated' to the church, it would revert back to the (now, unknown) "heirs" of the ones who originally gave it to the church in 1823. We had later acquired "in fee simple" some 'surrounding' property (and part of that from some of the same owners as the original tract of land).

    We also, by incorporation, removed the trustees from any personal liability, which had previously, unknown to most of us non-lawyer types, rested entirely on them.

    No one had ever even questioned such a need, before, as far as I know. But knowing what I do now, I would strongly suggest any church incorporate (even before they acquire facilities, if possible, for the liability factor, alone), and certainly get enough liability and damage coverage.

    I estimate, and I'm guessing conservatively, I think, that our physical facilities now would near $3 Million, were they to have to be replaced, with the auditorium alone, hitting close to $1 Million.

    That sure is a big difference from when it was built in 1850, for an amount of less than 1300 bucks, I'd say.

    Ed
     
    #11 EdSutton, Mar 19, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2008
  12. SBCPreacher

    SBCPreacher Active Member

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    We allowed our church to be used for a wedding (non-members) a couple of years ago. One lady, though warned, decided to video the couple leaving the front door of the church. There is a small step down just after you pass through the door. Well, you guessed it, she fell. She got right back up, embarrassed, and said she was fine. A couple of weeks later, the minister who did the wedding said that she had numerous dr. bills and thought the church was responsible.

    So, this is what I did. I told him to tell her to document everything (in writing) that happened, and send it to us with a copy of her medical bills that she thought we were responsible for. I said that we'd turn them over to our insurance company.

    I never heard from them again.

    BTW, we are incorporated, and have plenty of insurance.
     
  13. tinytim

    tinytim <img src =/tim2.jpg>

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    What are the steps in getting a church incorporated?
     
  14. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member

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  15. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    Tim, when I was in the Mountian State back in the early 90's, there was talk about allowing churches to inc. There was all kinds of noise from the Fundies who insisted that be inc, would allow the churches to be controled by the govt. Seems as though discussed that on our radio station a few times.

    As far as getting inc, contact a lawyer, or maybe the WV ABC could help.

    May not be a bad ideal, you wouldn't want to loose your million dollar house, would you?:laugh:

    Salty
     
  16. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    It would be less awkward to make individual organizations that use the churches facilities sign such a waver.

    Sadly lawsuits against churches are becoming quite common.

    I'm disallusioned with the legal system.
    We live in a post-OJ society where the winner is the law team that best connives to manipulate an uninformed and disinterested jury.
    Justice is not who is right but who wins.

    Churches and church boards should have insurance coverage to protect them against such practices.
    It's cheap enough.

    Rob
     
  17. Bartimaeus

    Bartimaeus New Member

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    Hey Folks, seems like we have alot of information here. I appreciate everyone chippin in with their 2 cents worth. How about this for some more discussion. Check out www.churchsolutionsmag.com/articles/645/645_9b1Fina1.html

    "A Guide to Church Liabilities" states that church trustees can be open to liability in tort (damages) lawsuits.

    What say ye?

    Bro. Bartimaeus
     
  18. Jkdbuck76

    Jkdbuck76 Well-Known Member

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    What's wrong with a general liability waiver? I'm sure Peter and Paul and the Others required them@!
     
  19. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member

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    There is absolutely no need for a waiver of any kind. Add to that waivers do not guarrantee there will not be a lawsuit. Get your insurance. Incorporate. and all is well.
     
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