Church agrees to $26M award for missionary’s brain injury

Doing God’s work is a noble thing. Most who do it are motivated by rewards they don’t expect to receive in this life. But those who commit to entering the mission fields still have to make it through this life. If they happen to suffer a life-changing accident in the course of that work, they have a legitimate right to expect to be covered for their suffering.

This is brought to mind by a story we recently came across. The events of the case didn’t take place in Texas, but easily could have. And the outcome was such that we feel that it deserves note here. As a result of a court’s finding, the Southern Baptist Convention and its insurers are now committed to paying a South Carolina man $26 million for the quadriplegia and brain injuries he suffered in a mission trip accident.

The single-vehicle rollover happened in 2009 in Montana. According to the report we read, the victim and three others were on their way home from a trip to Glacier National Park.

At the time of the incident, the four young men were involved in a 10-week recreational mission program. The head of the program stated in a deposition that their trip had been approved on the condition that the four young men continued to live by the organization’s lifestyle rules and represented the organization wherever they went.

This, the plaintiffs argued, they did; countering the mission group’s contention that the four had simply gone on the trip to meet with some family members.

With the judge’s finding that the trip was within the course and scope of the mission work, the church agreed to a $26 million settlement for the 21-year-old victim. The man’s attorney says the funds will allow the victim’s family to buy a handicapped-accessible home and care for him so that he can live the remainder of his life to the fullest.

That would seem to be as it should be.

Source: Claims Journal, “Insurers Will Pay Quadriplegic Missionary $26M Settlement for Crash Injuries,” The Associated Press, July 17, 2015.