How 2 Martial Arts Schools Got Sued For Over $1-million

Could This Be The Accidental Death of Your School?

Imagine teaching an everyday, normal class with no crazy cardio demands or dangerous drills. Suddenly a seemingly healthy teenager collapses and passes out cold. You call 911. They arrive 11-minutes later (national average response time). The student dies on the way to the hospital.

What did you do during that 11-minute wait? Comfort mom? Take his pulse. CPR? Call your insurance company?

Maybe a better question is, “What could you do?” While you don’t have to be trained to perform CPR, training would certainly help. What if you weren’t even present? What could your assistant instructor do?

Even though you did nothing to cause the collapse, your liability will be in your response to the collapse. I don’t have to tell you that an aggressive personal injury attorney is going to come after you or that no family with an attorney believes in “accidental death.” Without good insurance to pay for the defense of your school, this could be your accidental death.

In a case like this where you did nothing to create the damage, the lawsuit will claim you did nothing to mitigate or reduce it. This is where CPR training and MATA Certification can help a great deal. Any training that will improve safety for your students will most likely work in your favor in litigation. You can be sure the opposing attorney will research the options that an owner has for safety training and use any failure to take advantage of them again him or her.

That said, here are two cases where neither CPR training nor MATA Certification could help the situation. Like the story above, this is a rare instance. The difference is these stories are true.

If you are like most martial arts instructors, you may not even know what an automated external defibrillators (AED) is. An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest. This is when the heart unexpectedly stops beating.  The cost for an AED device is between $1,200 and $3,000. reports that a school teaching a Krav Maga like class had a teenage student collapse and die. The school was sued for not having an AED and had to settle for $1-million. Regardless of what they did on scene, the school didn’t have an AED.

In Texas, Kickstart was teaching in a public middle school when a 12-year student collapsed. The Kickstart instructor called the school nurse. Though they had an AED, she did not use it. The boy died of cardiac arrest.  Under the law, a school nurse is protected from lawsuits.  So the family sued Kickstart and won.

Are you required to have AED in your state? In addition to having an AED, there is the issue of getting your staff properly trained to use it.

After some research, we think this website might have the best information on whether or not you are required to have an AED in your facility. We make no guarantee of the accuracy of this, but it seems like a good starting point.  

Our suggestion is:

  1. Get insurance for your school.
  2. Get CPR training.
  3. Get MATA Certified a no cost thanks to Sports Fitness Insurance Corp (SFIC).
  4. Find out if you’re required to have an AED on these two sites.

AED State Law Information 1

AED State Law Information 2

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