Martial Arts School Insurance-Woman Awards $980,000

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INSURANCE LESSONS FROM THE REAL WORLD

In the News

WOMAN AWARDED $980,000 FOR GYM INJURY

A State Supreme Court jury has awarded $980,000 to a woman for her pain and suffering after discs in her neck were damaged during a workout at a local gym.

The total award was $1.4 million, including $400,000 for past pain and suffering and $1 million for future pain and suffering. The woman was found 30% responsible for the damage, leaving the gym to absorb 70% of the award.

The woman’s attorney said that after his client underwent a cervical fusion to remove degenerated discs in her neck, doctors instructed her to stay fit and active to help avoid any future neck issues.  She hired a personal trainer at the gym after explaining her surgical history and restrictions.

The trainer designed a workout that involved a series of three strenuous exercises performed back to back with no rest, said the attorney. His client questioned the workout, and the trainer assured her it was safe.

The woman awoke that night in excruciating pain and has never recovered, claiming the workout caused permanent damage to the discs above and below the original fusion, requiring an additional fusion as well as the installation of a titanium plate and titanium rods.

The woman’s surgeon testified that there is no surgery available to address all of the damage caused by the workout or to relieve all of her pain.  As a result, the attorney said, she will have headaches, chronic pain in her neck and radiating arm pain for the rest of her life as well as severe and permanent restrictions on the range of motion in her neck.

AFS’ INSURANCE EXPERT COMMENTS…

The claim outlined in the attached article is a professional liability claim based on the professional services rendered by the personal trainer. All independent trainers need to carry their own professional liability policy to protect themselves from these types of claims and all fitness facilities need to make sure that their policies carry full limits for professional liability.

If you employ independent contractors in your studio, they must carry their own insurance and name your facility as additional insured. You should also verify that your trainers are certified by a reputable licensing body and are current with their continuing education requirements.

This claim is severe because of a pre-existing condition and question of the appropriateness of the workout to the client’s medical history. In your facility, you set the rules for how your trainers should work with clients that have pre-existing conditions and how they should respond if a client expresses concerns about the safety or appropriateness of a workout. Make sure all your trainers follow your guidelines even if some (or all) of your trainers are independent.

 

Martial Arts Insurance – Getting Sued 15-Years Later

Martial Arts Insurance – Getting Sued 15-Years Later

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Jennifer Urmston from Sports and Fitness Insurance (SFIC), the official Martial Arts Insurance partner of MATA, explains the difference between "Occurrence based coverage" rather than "Claims based coverage."

SFIC Offers a $25 Credit just for mentioning MATA when you apply for martial arts liability insurance for your school.

Martial Arts School Insurance–Sexual Misconduct

Martial Arts School Insurance–Sexual Misconduct

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Jennifer Urmston from Sports and Fitness Insurance Company lays out the liabilities you may be facing due to:

Your dressing rooms

Your tournaments

Your sleepovers

and other areas of your business.

JENNIFER URMSTON LOWE  |  Sports & Fitness Insurance Corporation

National Accounts Manager

Office: 800.844.0536 ext. 2333  •  Fax: 877.219.8263

Jennifer@sportsfitness.com

Can Martial Arts School Insurance Save You From This?

Can Martial Arts School Insurance Save You From This?

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Audio Interview at the Bottom

Your class is packed. The school is booming. In the midst of all of the excitement, a 12-year student turns and run across the floor to the water fountain.

As she hits full stride, a 17-year old leadership team member demonstrates a full speed spin hook kick. At full power and velocity, his heel smashes into her face. She requires complete facial reconstructive surgery.

What would you do? What could you do? This accident happened over a decade ago to a school in the DC area.

It’s a prominent school, and it’s still in business today because it was fully insured. Are you? Could your school survive an incident like this?

To help school owners get a better understanding of liability and how to reduce it, we’re joined by Jennifer Urmston, who is the National Account Manager at Sports and Fitness Insurance Corporation (SFIC).

Most schools shop for the cheapest martial arts insurance. That could be a major disaster if a school is faced with any of the lawsuits described in this 12-minute interview. When it comes to martial arts school insurance cost, there are some important variables that you will learn about in this series.

Most of us think about insurance for our martial arts school, but what about martial arts instructor insurance? Mixed martial arts insurance or even self-defense instructor insurance?

Jennifer Urmston
National Account Manager
Sports and Fitness Insurance Corporation (SFIC)

Avoiding Negligence

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The most likely lawsuit brought against a martial arts school is for negligence. Negligence is simply having a duty to do something that will help maintain the safety of those present, and failing to fulfill that duty. Depending upon the State and the ideological bent of the Court in any given area, negligence may be easier or harder to prove.

Some areas of the U.S. are pro-business and understand that certain risks are so remote and fixing them so expensive, that the law does not require those measures be taken. Other areas are so pro-employee/consumer that a business owner may be found liable if someone is hurt in his business or during operations even if every conceivable precaution was taken.

Cases have gone to trial over spilled hot coffee in someone’s lap (it was too hot, the jury decided). On someone slipping and falling on a tile floor after he walked in from the rain (no sign was posted advising people walking in from the rain that the tile would be slippery when wet). Even criminals have won lawsuits when they broke into a business and were injured. It doesn’t matter who is hurt or what they were doing, if the danger existed, the owner was responsible. 

At other times, in other places, what appears to be a strong case is lost at trial or overturned on appeal. A worker intentionally defrauded a customer, then injured the customer’s agent when he tried to repossess the customer’s car that the worker was using illegally. The Court refused to award any damages for the use of the car or the injury to the customer’s agent. There are undoubtedly thousands of what might seem like cases with merit that still lose.

Many lawyers are known to openly admit that the outcome of trial is a “crap shoot,” that it’s a roll of the dice and you never know what’s going to happen. To some extent, that’s true. If a case goes to trial, it means that both sides are committed to the fight, that both sides think they can win. When two good lawyers (or teams of lawyers) think enough of their case to fight it out in Court, the outcome is difficult to predict. However, 95% of all cases settle before trial.

Avoiding Accidents

Taking the issue of accidents step-by-step, the first general issue to consider is avoiding accidents. No matter the present situation with documentation or insurance, if no accidents occur, then there will be no claims. There are three key areas to consider: 

1. Safety of the Training Area.

2. Safety of the Training Equipment.

3. Safety of the Training Techniques.

Safety of the Training Area

The first thing to do is evaluate the safety of your training area. Any potential dangers need to be addressed. If there is a tear in the mat that could catch someone’s foot, then it should be taped down or the mat replaced. Look at your school from the standpoint of a nit-picking safety inspector. Do not dismiss things as “good enough,” since, in a court of law, “good enough” often isn’t. Carefully explore both the actual training area and the rest of your premises.