Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints liable for personal injury to an adult volunteer during a church sponsored event?

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Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints liable for personal injury to an adult volunteer during a church sponsored event?

I was asked to help at a church sponsored event several months ago and was asked to help by riding an ATV from the main camp to the areas that the youth were located. I was provided an ATV, with no helmet. At about 6 pm I was found on the trail unconscious and with a head wound. I was sent in a helicopter to the hospital. I had to have surgery on my head and it was drained to relieve pressure from my TBI. I don’t have any memory of the accident or 3.5 weeks after and was in the hospital for about a month. The church is helping with out of pocket medical expenses but I am unable to return to my job as a occupational health nurse due to significant memory loss and emotional problems. This is a loss to half of our family income. Is there any way to sue the church for lost wages and pain and suffering because of the accident?

Asked on October 18, 2018 under Personal Injury, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, they are not liable. 
1) As you say, you volunteered for this, and you chose to ride without a helmet. (You could have refused to ride an ATV without a helmet, and they could not have forced you to do so.) They are not responsible for your voluntary choice to do something dangerous, even if you were doing it to help them out.
2) They did not cause you to have the accident or suffer the injury; they are not at fault in what happened to you.
For both these reasons, they are not liable.


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