Anyone who conducts an event, or is a sponsor, landowner or agency for a motor vehicle/ vessel event is subject to potential bodily injury and property damage negligence claims related to the event. For competition events, the promoter may also have an errors and omissions exposure related to the scoring of an event.
The AMA holds a public liability insurance policy to cover the AMA, its subsidiary companies and other parties (including landowners) for their respective rights and interests.
Why Insurance is Important
The AMA’s insurance protects you, club members, employees and volunteers, the landowners you work with and the AMA. Participants and spectators are often the most likely to file a lawsuit, but could also file a claim against one of your club members or volunteers because of an injury at a sanctioned event.
Types of Claims
Bodily Injury Claims
An event organizer or sponsor assumes the responsibility to adequately protect participants, spectators and third parties by its design of the event, access to the event and control of the event.
Participant: A participant is injured at an event. The participant sues the organizer or sponsor for negligence alleging they improperly designed the course or route, improperly controlled the speed or knew the conditions were not safe. Injury may occur from one driver/ rider hitting another driver/ rider. In this case, a participant might allege the organizer or sponsor exercised improper control over the participant.
Spectators or Third Parties: These claims usually result from inadequate protection or failure to restrain access to the event. If a participant crashes into a spectator, the claim will usually involve an allegation the organizer or sponsor inadequately provided physical protection, setbacks or physical barriers for spectators.
Property Damage (Third Party): These types of claims can result from a participant, organizer or sponsor causing damage to third party property. A participant loses control and hits a third-party vehicle. A participant crashes and spills oil and gasoline causing damage to third party property.
General Liability Coverage (including Premises Liability and the Business Owners’ Policies): These policies will not usually cover these types of claims, as the policy excludes coverage for participants and will exclude claims related to the use of “motor vehicle/ vessel” / mobile equipment and will have limited pollution liability coverage.
Layers of Protection: A waiver of liability, provided as a supply to organizers who charter with the AMA, may be a shield against liability, but it is not a shield against being sued and needing to provide a defense. The insurance policy provided through the AMA Insurance Provider covers the cost of a defense in addition to providing liability coverage (if needed).
The policy provided through the AMA Insurance Provider is designed to extend coverage for these circumstances.
One parent’s signature on the liability waiver is good enough.
Fact: It is a requirement that BOTH parents or legal guardians signatures be on the minor release form. In some cases, the father may have signed the release and mother was not there and did not sign. If the mother files a suit, the organizer does not have the first line of defense: the release form.
I don’t need insurance. My event takes place on public roads/ waterways where participants are legally responsible for holding their own vehicle/ vessel registration and insurance.
Fact: As the event organizer and or promoter, you are potentially responsible for the event on public roads/ waterways. While each participant may have vehicle/ vessel insurance, that insurance will not provide any coverage to the event organizer. Insurance provided by the AMA covers the cost of a defense and any liability coverage.
Everyone is required to have personal insurance. They won’t need to sue my organization for hospital bills.
Fact: Insurance held by individual participants will not extend to event organizers. In the event of a death of a participant, sometimes a surviving family member or estate has filed suit. In some cases, the private health insurance company may have paid a claim and later decided to try to cover their losses paid out, by suing the party they feel was responsible.
Always remember safety first, motor responsibility. Enjoy Australia, don’t destroy it.