There are, unfortunately, a few legal issues that may arise when it comes to the safety of parishioners in places of worship. While the church or group may constitute the spiritual embodiment of a religion or belief system, the buildings in which that community is shared are still subject to state and federal law.
Similarly, a place of worship does not protect leaders or other parishioners from legal action resulting from criminal or negligent actions. If you have been injured in a place of worship, you can pursue legal remedies depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident or injuries.
Safety of Parishioners
The safety of parishioners while attending a place of worship is the responsibility of those who operate or own the premises. If building defects result in a trip and fall accident, you have the right to pursue compensation for things like medical costs, loss of earnings, and pain and suffering resulting from the accident.
In a worst-case scenario, the owner of a place of worship may be considered negligent in the duty of care by not ensuring the safety of parishioners against armed attackers. With the instances of active shooters targeting churches, synagogues, and mosques across the country, the chances of this type of incident occurring is a genuine concern for many parishioners.
As with all buildings, places of worship must meet the required construction standards for the state of Georgia. If a fire should break out in a place of worship, the safety of parishioners is of utmost importance. Providing emergency exits, fire extinguishers and emergency lighting are just some of the steps that places of worship can take to assure the safety of parishioners attending services in the building.
Due to the often-casual nature of attendance in places of worship, it is impractical to hold planned fire drills. However, a fire evacuation plan which takes the safety of parishioners leaving the building into account could save lives. Places of worship face unique challenges in this respect and should consult with local fire services for advice and guidance.
Wrongful Death Claims
If the wrongful act of a person in a position of responsibility results in the death of a parishioner, the decedent’s family may have cause to pursue a wrongful death claim in the state of Georgia. Depending on the circumstances which lead to the death and how the defendant’s actions contributed to the cause of death, a surviving heir or spouse may seek to pursue both criminal and civil proceedings.
Determining who, if anyone, is responsible for the safety of parishioners in a place of worship will depend on the type of building involved and the nature of any incident which results in injury or harm. If you believe that you have a potential case for compensation, consulting with an experienced Georgia accident lawyer may provide you with the answers that you seek.
Reach out to the Fry | Goehring today if you would like to further discuss the safety of parishioners and how that relates to your own experiences at a place of worship.