Finally... a Conservative Unitarian Universalist Member Blogging As You Asked! After so many years of singing around the campfire, the call has been answered!
I'm not saying what he did was right or wrong, but to me, this lawsuit implicates the issues of health care costs and our sue-happy society rather than a lash-out at a church.It's possible that the man simply can't afford to pay his medical bills since, according to the news article, his insurance company denied his claim, and he had two surgeries. Where else would he get the money?
What the article actually says is "Matt Lincoln, who is 57, says he decided to sue the church after ITS insurance company denied his claim for medical bills." (my emphasis) It sounds to me like he had tried to get the church to pay from the beginning; there is no mention of his insurance, if any.If he had no health insurance, I presume he would have to get the money by loan or by charity. What basis is there to sue the church? He himself is claiming the accident was an act of God!
I apologize for missing the point that it was the church's insurance that denied claims. As for what basis there is to sue the church, I expect his lawyer would have an answer.Whether or not he intended to injure himself and sue in hopes for a settlement, I cannot say, but in either case, the I think the fact that someone can is where the source of this ridiculousness lies.
I agree that we desperately need tort reform. the best proposal I've heard is to go to the "loser pays" system, where the loser pays the legal fees of both sides. That way, a poor person can get top-notch lawyers if he has a solid case, because the lawyer is confidant he'll be paid- but frivolous suits are discouraged because of the high probability of having to pay. This sort of system strongly encourages settlement out of court, which would also relieve an overburdened court system.
Joel, the problem with that system is that it makes the risk disproportionate.For example: I get injured by the negligence of MegaCorp and sue. I'm merely a middle-class American and am scraping by. If I lose the case... my life's shattered--I'll be paying MegaCorp's "costs" (as determined, no doubt, by corporate accounting...). It probably means the loss of my assets--whatever they are--and bankruptcy, for having had the unmitigated gall to pursue a claim against a corporation which does have huge resources and a staff of lawyers and....If I win? Is the risk to MegaCorp that it will be ruined, teetering on the edge of going out of business?It's a scheme that sounds "fair," but which privileges those with the wealth that permits them to use the legal system. Those of us--the vast majority, probably--who simply can't afford the consequences of losing will be forced, rationally, to suck it up and not take the risk. It sucks much of the possibility of justice out of the system. The claims will never be made, and the proponents will perform minuets of delight at how frivolous cases have become so rare....We already have a system which provides a better grade of justice to those with money and power. This would seriously exacerbate it.
I disagree. If you actually have a good case, you can get the same high-powered legal team they have- the lawyers will be chomping at the bit to get a taste of those deep pockets. If you have a good case and don't win you're bankrupt, yes- but in bankruptcy it doesn't matter how high the bills were... if they were a billion dollars, so what, you don't pay if you're bankrupt. On the other hand, if you had a good case and didn't file, you're probably bankrupt from the injuries or losses anyway! (if you didn't have huge losses you don't have a good case) So out of three possible scenarios- don't file and lose, file and win, file and lose- only not filing leaves you worse off than before.
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