Court Rules Church Can Be Held Liable for Dangerous Placement of Parking Lot

In a recent case, a man brought a claim against a church after he was hit by a car while he was crossing a road to go to the church. The man had just parked his car in an overflow parking lot, which was owned and staffed by a local church. He was going to attend an event at the church, and to get to the church he had to cross a busy five-lane road. The man and his wife sued the church, alleging that the church negligently located its overflow parking lot in an area that required churchgoers to cross a busy road and failed to provide churchgoers with assistance in crossing the road.

TrafficThe church argued that it did not owe a duty to the man because it did not own or control the road he was crossing when he was injured. However, the appellate court found that the location of the church’s overflow parking lot exposed churchgoers to an unreasonable risk of injury. Specifically, it required them to cross a busy road where there was no marked crosswalk or traffic signal in order to cross the road and get to the church.

The court explained that those who own, possess, or control property have a duty to exercise ordinary care in managing the property so that others are not exposed to an unreasonable risk of harm. Even though the church did not control the street where the man was hit, it did control the location of the overflow parking lot, which could have contributed to his injury.

The Duty Owed in Premises Liability Claims

In a negligence claim, a plaintiff must prove duty, breach, causation, and damages. Thus, duty is the first required element in a negligence claim. In order for a defendant to be negligent, the defendant first has to owe a duty to another person to act in a certain way—generally, a duty of “reasonable care.” However, a person does not have a duty to every other person in the world. Different situations give rise to different duties, depending on the location and the relationship between the parties. The duty and the scope of the duty is often a dispute that is determined by a court.

In premises liability claims, a plaintiff has to show that the owner or possessor of land had a duty to maintain the premises to a certain degree and that he or she failed to do so. The duty owed to individuals by owners or occupiers of land generally depends on the relationship between the two parties. For example, in Illinois, if a person is a patron of a business, the owner or occupier normally owes that person a “reasonable degree of care.”

Have You Been Injured?

If you have been injured, no matter where it occurred, you may be able to file a claim against one or more parties for their role in your accident. The duty owed by a defendant is a difficult determination, and having a skilled attorney is extremely important. The Chicago attorneys at Moll Law Group are skilled in many personal injury claims, from premises liability to medical malpractice. If you have been hurt on someone else’s property, we may be able to help. Call us at 312-462-1700 or use our online form to set up a free initial consultation.

See More Posts:

Woman Injured on Icy Hotel Sidewalk Fails to Provide Evidence of Hotel’s Duty to Train Employees, Must Retry Case, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, July 9, 2016.

Woman Fails to Provide Required Notice in Medical Malpractice Claim, Resulting in Dismissal, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, July 23, 2016.

Court Dismisses Case After Failure to Pay Filing Fee Within Statute of Limitations, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, June 25, 2016.