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Unscrupulous lawyers aim at team sports: Are you a target?

If you’re involved in team sports at any level, lawyers seeking to make a fast buck have slapped a target on your back.

At risk are league, club and association executives, tournament managers, trainers, coaches, referees and umpires. Even local recreation departments and parents are in danger of being targeted.

Plaintiff attorneys view team sports as a big opportunity to collect large fees. After all, amateur sports is a multi-billion-dollar industry. There are thousands of leagues, clubs and associations, hundreds of thousands of teams, and millions of players and parents.

Inevitably, accidents happen, players are injured, disputes arise — and lawyers circle like vultures to file lawsuits at every opportunity. You can hardly turn on the television without seeing ads by plaintiff attorneys trolling for clients. Many law firms are “litigation machines” that file frivolous lawsuits in hope of easy settlements.

The reality is that team sports face all the liability risks of any business. And they need the same protection through an insurance company that will fight for them and not rush to settle irresponsible claims.

Rick Lindsey, the CEO of XINSURANCE, which provides specialty insurance nationwide, notes that frivolous lawsuits are a major threat to sports leagues, clubs and associations, and all the individuals involved. He has seen the number of unjust lawsuits multiply in recent years and he partly blames insurance companies that refuse to fight for their clients and are too quick to settle unwarranted litigation.

“Even well-run operations have a chance of facing legitimate claims. Sometimes bad things happen,” says Lindsey.  “However, reasonable claims are only a small percentage of all the lawsuits being filed. The real risk for sports teams and leagues is the growing number of frivolous claims that must be vigorously contested to protect the organization and its future.”

The inclination to settle even unwarranted lawsuits encourages additional litigation and higher settlement demands, resulting in a downward spiral in fairness and costing more in the long run, says Lindsey.

Lindsey believes the American legal system is the best in the world. “Judges and juries are usually fair. We need to use the system to fight for justice and not just settle because it might be a little cheaper. It’s definitely not cheaper in the long run.”

Lindsey has plenty of experience fighting unscrupulous lawyers. XINSURANCE specializes in providing peace of mind to clients involved in high-risk businesses. His companies cover more than 700 risk classes, including sky-diving, parachuting, bungee jumping, avalanche mitigation, rock climbing, river running, bounce houses, gymnastics, aerial arts, heli-skiing, and so forth.

He is seeing more and more claims filed against sports teams, leagues, coaches, trainers and tournament managers. He encourages these leaders to carefully examine their insurance policies and look for exclusions and gaps that might leave them vulnerable. “Those gaps should be filled with umbrella coverage to provide true peace of mind,” Lindsey says.