Many of our clients are devoutly religious people, since a good part of our practice is referred to us from the church. It is not unusual for Pastors, Priests, Deacons or other church leaders to recommend our firm since we are so actively involved in ministry to the poor and other church related missions.
As a result we are often asked this question: “Is it morally wrong for a Christian to bring a lawsuit for personal injuries?” Fortunately our firm is well equipped to answer this question. Dan Buttafuoco is an active elder in his church and possesses a Master’s Degree in Theology from Alliance Theological Seminary. He is also an amateur Bible scholar and has taught graduate students at both seminary and law school.
The Bible (neither the Christian nor the Jewish version) and the Judeo-Christian religions do not prohibit lawsuits. Scripture prohibits only unjust lawsuits. The Bible, the teachings of Moses, and the teachings of Jesus are very concerned with the concept of justice. Continually we are told in scripture to “defend the poor, the weak and the fatherless” in court. In fact, Exodus 22 sets forth legal guidelines for God’s people to recover compensation in personal injury accidents when these accidents are caused by the fault of another, either through negligence or other wrongdoing. It is a simple but profound concept. If you break it, you must fix it. If you hurt someone, you must pay for it.
These very same moral and just principles are embodied in our law today, especially in America with its strong Judeo-Christian founding. While lawsuits, like anything else, can be abused by dishonest people, they need not be. Furthermore, insurance companies and corporations are often just as immoral and corrupt in denying valid claims than any dishonest claimant. Because they have money for “PR” this sad fact is often not publicized, but any lawyer and judge knows that insurance companies and defendants often go to great lengths, sometimes unfairly, to deny valid claims.
In just about every jury case brought in America there is liability insurance that will pay the verdict. This is true even if the named defendant is a private individual and may in fact be some “sweet little old lady.” Jurors and the public are never told that the ultimate payment for injuries in these cases will be made by an insurance company. In court it is illegal to tell the jury that insurance money is involved. Consequently, jurors are never aware of the truth that the money being sought in the verdict will be paid by “XYZ Insurance Company.”
Insurance companies exist for the sole purpose of paying claims. Yet they hide behind the fiction of the appearance that in court the person being sued must pay the plaintiff (the person bringing the lawsuit) out of their own pocket. Simple economics will tell you that the average person has insufficient money to pay damages on any significant personal injury claim. Therefore always assume that insurance money is lurking behind any claim made in court.
It is certainly not immoral to accept money for injuries from insurance companies since they exist for this very purpose.