Here is my scenario: I attend a church which rents a public school for Sunday morning services. The school district provides staff during the times our church meets there for assistance with opening rooms, obtaining chairs, etc... On December 23, 2012, we used the facility for the first time for an evening service. That evening, there were no lignts turned on in the parking lot. My developmentally disabled brother broke his shoulder when he tripped over a curb on our way in to the building. He required surgery for the injury and is now recovering. The church is accepting responsibility and filed a claim with their insurance. The coverage ceiling is $15,000. The ER charge was over $4,000 and I suppose the surgery itself will exceed the $15,000 ceiling. I am in the process of finding out who accepts liability in the agreement between the church and school. My dilemma is this: the school (in my perspective) was negligent because our church has no access to the lighting. Please give me some insight regarding recourse to be sure all costs incurred are covered. The church and the school are both in Missouri.
1 Answer from Attorneys
It appears that both the school and church may be liable (as well as the person who was in charge of him that night) to your brother or his guardian/conservator. Obviously, whoever approved him getting treated, is liable to the healthcare provider. The churches liability is not limited by their insurance coverage (they just get part if it paid by their insurer). I suspect that the church has contractually agreed you recompense the school district for any claims made by those who attend services. That is between them, and doesn't really affect your brother.
This is a general assessment, based upon your general description of the facts. Your brother, or his guardian/conservator should consult directly with a civil practice attorney, before deciding how to proceed.
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