A church is not only a place of worship, but also a “public accommodation” or a “workplace” for many. Opening your doors means opening your church to liability risk. When a third party (such as a congregant, guest, tenant or vendor) enters onto your property the standard of care is higher for your church than it is for your home. Some of these standards are prescribed by building codes and the law. We may be less attentive to hazards around our homes, but much greater attention to detail is required at your church.
Any individual that comes on church property can be injured or have their property damaged. Your church may not be directly responsible for the incident, but the injured party may still submit a claim against the church’s insurance. If a well drafted con-tract is not in place between the church and the third party, the church may be responsible for paying some or all of the dam-ages incurred by the injured party. Church leadership can take steps to insulate itself from liability by requiring well drafted, formal contracts with the third parties that utilize church space.
This pamphlet will walk you through lessening the liability risk from third parties using contractual risk management techniques. The information provided is intended to demonstrate relationships with respect to insurance contracts and contracts of indemnity, and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular contractual or legal matter as may apply in your state.