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2005 US Youth Soccer Workshop and Coaches Convention Salt Lake City, Utah The Top Ten Most Serious Youth Soccer Liability Claims (…and What Caused Them)

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Presentation on theme: "2005 US Youth Soccer Workshop and Coaches Convention Salt Lake City, Utah The Top Ten Most Serious Youth Soccer Liability Claims (…and What Caused Them)"— Presentation transcript:

1 2005 US Youth Soccer Workshop and Coaches Convention Salt Lake City, Utah The Top Ten Most Serious Youth Soccer Liability Claims (…and What Caused Them) John Spiotta Bollinger Insurance Tony Petruzzi Gracechurch Associates Presented by:

2 Claim Number 1 Cause: Using Unauthorized Equipment, Disregard for Goal Safety and Poor Judgment! Date of Loss: 5/8/98 Description:This claimant, a ten-year-old boy, was instructed by his coach to move an extremely heavy home made soccer goal. The goal tipped over and landed on the boys neck. He sustained a fracture to his neck and was paralyzed. He is a quadriplegic and is dependant on a respirator to breathe. The City (the field owner) had commissioned the goal to be made by a local welder, and was named as an additional insured at the time of the loss. The Plaintiffs attorney named numerous organizations and individuals in the suit and it was apparent from the early stages that the carrier would most likely pay policy limits on the claim. The Claimants medical specials were well over a half million dollars. The claim settled for $2,000,000 (which included policy limits on the GL policy plus payment from the umbrella policy). Claim Cost Indemnity:$2,000, paid to claimant Expense:$9, cost to defend claim Total Paid:$2,009,677.75

3 Claim Number 2 Cause: Ignored the Zero Tolerance Rule Date of Loss: 8/28/01 Description:The Claimant, a 15-year-old female, alleged that her coach got her intoxicated and sexually molested her. Authorities said the coach took the girl to dinner while they were both away for a soccer tournament, got her "extremely intoxicated," and had sex with her at the hotel. The coach pleaded guilty to six counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child and was sentenced to 52 months in prison. A liability was filed against the league and the state soccer association. Defense of the suit was hindered since the league had done a background check on the coach previously that showed his prior history of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as a history of domestic violence. Despite this, the league allowed him to coach. The claim settled for policy limits. The insurance company paid $1,000,000 dollars, plus an additional $300,000 was paid by the umbrella carrier. Claim Cost Indemnity:$1,300, paid to claimant Expense:$74, cost to defend claim Total Paid:$1,374,849.00

4 Claim Number 3 Cause: The Hidden Automobile Exposure Date of Loss: 8/21/03 Description:This claim was filed under the soccer associations Hired & Non- Owned Auto policy. The driver of a rental car, who was a coach hired by the insured, made a left turn and hit a motorcyclist (the claimant), severely injuring him. The Claimant was 28 at the time of the incident. The reserve on the claim is currently $1,000,000 (the policy limit) and it looks like it will be paid in full. The driver of the car was a British coach hired by the Insured who supplied him with a rented auto. The Claimants injuries are severe and he can demonstrate specials in the $2.5 million range. The outlook does not look good, as there are no defenses at the carriers disposal. The auto rental company is also a defendant. Claim Cost Indemnity:$0.00 Expense Paid:$20, cost to defend Reserves Indemnity:$1,000, projected payout to claimant Expense:$14, projected additional cost to defend Total Paid/Reserved:$1,035,000.00

5 Claim Number 4 Cause: Over-Matched Participants in Contact Situations Date of Loss: 10/6/03 Description:The Claimant, a 13 year old female player, suffered a severe leg injury after colliding with the goalkeeper as they both went for the ball. This occurred during a scrimmage game. The goalkeeper, however, was an adult male assistant coach who outweighed her by about 75 pounds. The Claimant suffered a SALTER IV fractured femur in the accident. This is a unique pediatric injury involving two fractures, one of which is at the growth plate. The Claimant also has a leg length discrepancy that will likely worsen over time and will require special shoes throughput her life. The screws in her leg are permanent, which will likely lead to arthritis. She will require multiple future surgeries, one of which is a total knee replacement. The mediator indicated that this is one of the worst knee cases he has seen. The Claimant also has a prominent scar, nearly half of which is keloid. Even after scar revision, it is likely that the scar will be unsightly. The Claimants medicals were in excess of $46,000 and future medicals are anticipated to be approximately $285,000. This does not include pain and suffering. The insurer was able to settle the claim at mediation for $537,500. Claim Cost Indemnity:$537,500 paid to claimant Expense:$10,500 cost to defend claim Total Paid:$548,000

6 Claim Number 5 Cause: Attractive Nuisances that Lead to Liability from Spectators Date of Loss: 10/7/95 Description:During a soccer game, a players little sister wandered over to a nearby baseball field and climbed up the backstop. Her mother, a spectator at the game, climbed the backstop to get the little girl down. The backstop toppled over and landed on the mother causing severe back injuries. Suit was filed against the school district that owned the backstop and the soccer league. While the school district settled the claim against them for $1.25 million, the soccer league was able to settle for $100,000. Claim Cost Indemnity:$100, paid to claimant Expense:$126, cost to defend claim Total Paid:$226,558.00

7 Claim Number 6 Cause: Assuming Risks beyond just Soccer, Be Careful what you Sign Date of Loss: 12/12/98 Description:This claim involved a 10-year old boy who was riding his bike on school property while his younger brother was playing soccer. The Claimant rode down a ramp and ran into a chain that was stretched across the bottom of the ramp to keep vehicles from driving up and onto the field. The chain cut the Claimants throat and severed his vocal cords. He also suffered lacerations to his head. The chain was the property of the school. However, because of the lease agreement signed by the soccer league making them responsible for the property while their activities were taking place, the school was covered under the soccer associations insurance policy. The soccer associations insurance company had to defend the school. It was decided that since the ramp was in the immediate area around the field and the the Claimant was there to watch his brother play that the loss fell within the scope of operations and conduct of sports activity as stated in the agreement. The Claimants medical expenses totaled approximately $70,000. The claim was settled for $200,000. Claim Cost Indemnity:$200, paid to claimant Expense:$19, cost to defend claim Total Paid:$219,740.74

8 Claim Number 7 Cause: Allowing Overly Aggressive Play Date of Loss: 10/6/96 Description:The Claimant, a youth player, alleged that during a game, several players from the opposing team ganged up on him resulting in a closed head injury that left him with memory loss and a personality change. The other players denied there was any illegal play and stated that they were just playing the game. Defense counsel felt that the Claimant had a good case. The Claimant was treated for nearly seven years and had medical bills that totaled over $100,000. However, he was back playing high school soccer and also doing very well academically. The Claimants demand was $1.9 million. However, the claim was ultimately settled for $90,000. Claim Cost Indemnity:$90, paid to claimant Expense:$89, cost to defend claim Total Paid:$179,881.70

9 Claim Number 8 Cause: Careless driving of a Golf Cart Date of Loss: 9/19/04 Description: During a soccer tournament, the tournament director was driving some spectators in a golf cart to another part of the field. The claimant, a 51-year old woman, was at the tournament to watch her grandson play in the match and walked directly in the path of the golf cart. The driver yelled watch out, but the claimant did not hear her and was hit by the golf cart. She broke her right fibula and was transported to the hospital. From a previous surgery, the woman had screws in the right tibia. The claim currently carries a reserve of $115,000. We have seen many claims resulting from careless driving or misuse of golf carts during soccer activities. Claim Cost Indemnity:$0.00 Paid:$1,329 to investigate claim to date Reserves Indemnity:$115,000 projected settlement cost Expense:$17,171 anticipated additional defense expenses Total Paid/Reserved:$133,500

10 Claim Number 9 Cause: Unsecured Goal Date of Loss: 6/2/02 Description: An unsecured soccer goal tipped over onto a youth players leg, fracturing her left femur. She sued the field owner (the owner of the goal) who was an additional insured under the policy. The tricky part of this claim was that the coach who was also the players father, was responsible for securing the goal. The player is also suing the state soccer association because of the coachs negligence. The claimants demand is $500,000. The carrier has tried unsuccessfully to settle the claim. The insurance company is now trying to mediate a settlement in order to preclude trial. Claim Cost Indemnity:$0.00 Paid:$16, cost to defend claim Reserves Indemnity:$125,000 anticipated settlement Expense:$8, anticipated additional defense expenses Total Paid/Reserved:$150,000

11 Claim Number 10 Cause: Physical Abuse by a Coach Date of Loss: 11/20/99 Description: This claim involved a coach who was accused of grabbing a league official by her wrist and twisting her arm. The Claimant sustained injuries that required multiple surgeries. She entered a demand of $330,000, with over $35,000 in medical expenses. The Claim was settled at mediation for $112,500. Claim Cost Indemnity:$112,500 paid to claimant Expense: $18,752 cost of defending claim Total Paid:$131,252


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