Can you sue a charity ?

CAN YOU SUE A CHARITY FOR PERSONAL INJURY?

Can you sue a charity? Say a soup kitchen is properly incorporated as a charity. One day, some food debris spills onto the floor, in a public area. Someone notices and tells the staff to clean it up. However, for some reason, they don’t. You arrive at the charity’s premises.  You promptly slip on the mess. You injure your back severely. Can you sue the charity for compensation?

Like so many things in the law, the answer to “can you sue a charity”  is, “it depends.” If you were there as a beneficiary of the charity, to eat from the soup kitchen, the answer is likely no. Beneficiaries of charities are generally not allowed to sue the charities that help them. This is referred to as the doctrine of charitable immunity.

However, if you were not a beneficiary of the charity, you generally would be allowed to sue it for compensation.

As is usual in the law, there are many twists, turns, exceptions and complications to the charitable immunity rules. I hope to blog about those in the future.

The bottom line is this. If you are ever injured by or at a charity, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney. The attorney can advise you as to whether you would be allowed to sue for compensation. It all would depend on the particular facts and circumstances. There are other factors that often come into play, besides whether you were a beneficiary of the charity.

You can read the main section of the New Jersey charitable immunity law here.

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