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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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