You could be eligible for a Catholic Church lawsuit if you incurred damages due to the actions or inactions of Catholic Church clergy or the institution as a whole. Reasons for filing a lawsuit against the Catholic Church can include sexual abuse, avoidable accidents on church property, and others.
If you were subjected to sexual abuse or have another dispute with the church, you could receive damages, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, and others. However, time to file a lawsuit could be limited. Contact Morgan & Morgan today for free advice to determine whether you have a case against the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Scandal
According to the John Jay College Report published in 2011, between 1950 and 2002, 4,392 priests allegedly committed sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The number of individual reports of sexual abuse had reached 10,667 by 2003.
In the last decade or more, a wave of allegations against church officials has led to lawsuits by survivors seeking to hold their tormentors and the institution of the Catholic Church to account. In most states, survivors can still pursue justice, even if the abuse happened years ago. While no suit can turn back the time, compensation can make the lives of abuse victims more comfortable by providing them with financial support.
Why Come Forward With a Sexual Abuse Case Now?
Understandably, survivors may feel hesitant to stand up against their abuser and a powerful institution such as the Catholic Church. However, if sexual abuse remains unreported, the perpetrators could go on to abuse innocent victims for years. Moreover, demanding justice and legal recourse can be an empowering experience and provide closure to survivors. Compensation can help victims get the medical and psychological assistance they need to facilitate their healing process.
It is important to note that the time to file a lawsuit could be limited in your state. If you do not come forward and demand justice now, you could lose the opportunity forever.
The Emotional and Physical Effects of Abuse
Survivors of clergy abuse can experience a range of challenging emotional and physical symptoms, including:
- Feelings of shame and guilt
- Being easily startled by noises
- Depression, anxiety, and anger
- Eating disorders
- Avoiding gynecological or urological exams and tests
- Emotional outbursts
- Problems with forming intimate relationships
- Underperformance in school and at work
The devastating and lasting effects of sexual abuse can interfere with a person’s ability to lead a full and happy life. The consequences can be evident in their home life and career. If you suffered from abuse by the clergy of the Catholic Church, you do not have to suffer in silence. Our compassionate lawyers can determine your legal options in a confidential and free consultation.
Some Victims Experience Repressed Memory
You could be entitled to file a Catholic Church lawsuit even if you do not remember all the details about the abuse. Repressed memory can occur due to a particularly stressful and traumatic event such as sexual abuse. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), young children, in particular, may develop a selective memory as they do not understand what is happening when they experience abuse.
The Controversy Regarding Repressed Memories
In some sexual abuse cases, innocent persons have been accused and convicted based on repressed memories that later turned out to be false. Therefore, some courts may not permit new memories as evidence unless there is other supporting evidence corroborating repressed memories.
Other Potential Reasons for Suing the Catholic Church
Legal disputes with the Catholic Church can arise in a variety of circumstances, for example, due to an accident on church property, or failing to implement COVID19 measures to keep the congregation safe, to name just two examples.
Accidents on Church Property
Churches, just as other property and landowners, have the responsibility to make their premises reasonably safe for visitors. If they fail to maintain churches and other buildings adequately, they could be liable for the financial and other damages of individuals getting hurt as a result.
Slip and Fall
If you or a loved one fell on church property due to a hazardous condition, you could be eligible for a Catholic Church lawsuit. Hazardous conditions can include, among others:
- Broken stairs and missing handrails
- Loose mats
- Lack of lighting
- Broken or uneven flooring
- Ice or snow-covered walkways
- Defective furniture
- Slippery floor coverings
If the church did not take reasonable action to remedy a hazardous condition, you could have a case against the institution. Falls can cause serious and costly injuries such as bone fractures and head injuries. If you got hurt due to no fault of your own and incurred medical bills, wage losses, or other damages, seeking legal advice as soon as possible can be advantageous.
Property owners, including churches, must implement basic security measures to guard visitors against possible assaults, attacks, robberies, or theft. Examples on negligent security include:
- Broken locks
- Lack of fencing and gates
- Lack of security cameras
Churches, like all other property owners, must implement sufficient security measures appropriate for the premises. If they fail to do so, they could be responsible for any damages that their patrons incur.
Liability for COVID19 Infections in Churches
Transmission of the potentially deadly COVID19 virus can be a particular problem where large numbers of people come together in indoor settings, such as during church events. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) attributed at least one major outbreak of the disease to a church event in Arkansas where almost 40 percent of attendees contracted the disease and at least three died. The virus subsequently spread in the wider community, causing further illness and deaths.
The CDC strongly recommended that faith-based organizations conducting services, funerals, and other events, implement government guidelines to curb potential COVID-19 transmissions to church members and wider communities. Failing to adhere to government regulations could potentially constitute negligence.
Proving where you contracted the disease can be tricky. However, if you or a loved one caught COVID19 during a church service and suffered damages, the church could potentially be liable for damages. You could be eligible for filing a Catholic Church lawsuit and recover compensation.