Horrible Insurance Advice


This is how insurance companies think, blame and change our culture. The paragraph below appears at the top of the  “Effective zfkafbstrs
Playground Supervision” page 
 on the site of West Bend Mutual Insurance. West Bend insures the “businesses that many standard-lines companies shy away from” including, “daycares, fitness centers, swim clubs, summer camps and non-profit organizations.”

Just today I got a note from a middle school teacher who let her kids do their math sheets outside and one of the kids stepped onto the sidewalk, hurt her ankle, and the parents sued. The school had to settle out of court, the prospective damages were so high. So I do understand that litigation is a minefield.

But even more dangerous is the deeply flawed idea that every time an accident happens, someone is to blame, and the only way to prevent accidents (or liability) is to PROVE that adult eyes were never off a child, not even for a second:

Inattentive Teachers to Blame for Broken Arm

A group of twelve children were playing on a playground at their childcare center when a six-year-old girl fell from the structure and severely broke her arm. Two teachers were supposed to be supervising the students, but were in the middle of a conversation when the accident occurred. It turned out the girl was attempting the walk across the monkey bars, lost her balance, and fell. If the teachers were supervising properly this injury never would have occurred.

As if…! (Sputter sputter sputter.) As if adults can prevent every…!  As if no kid would otherwise ever…!

Feel free to sputter along. — L.

An insurance nightmare.

An insurance nightmare!



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75 Responses to Horrible Insurance Advice

  1. Puzzled June 18, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    >If the teachers were supervising properly this injury never would have occurred.

    Where did this article appear? The Psychic Times?

  2. Stacey June 18, 2015 at 11:18 am #

    Supervising=demand that she get down/not play/hold her hand constantly.

  3. E June 18, 2015 at 11:19 am #

    My husband recently had knee surgery. It’s just a bad knee with meniscus issues he’s been dealing with for 12+ years (2nd surgery). Anyway, we rec’d a document from our health insurance company (after the surgery) where we had to document the knee issue (was it related to car accident, an accident at work, etc). We did not get such documentation when he had his first surgery 12 years ago

    I could see that if a child was injured at school that these kind of claims come from other insurance companies, not necessarily the parents.

  4. Papilio June 18, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    Yeah, if the teachers were supervising properly they would have been able to yell a warning and THEN see her fall and break her arm. Much better.

  5. SKL June 18, 2015 at 11:35 am #

    Nice to know there are still some people alive who understand kids.

    Yeah, every time my kids ever got injured, there was an adult *right there.* Big whoop.

  6. anonymous mom June 18, 2015 at 11:35 am #

    It’s the myth of zero risk. I was just watching the news this morning, and they were talking about an initiative to get the number of traffic deaths in our state down to zero. That is a stupid and unrealistic goal. You will never get the number of traffic deaths down to zero, and any serious attempt to do so will involve heavy-handed, draconian tactics.

    We can follow common-sense policies that very significantly reduce risk. But, once risk is reduced to a certain level, we start needing to employ more and more heavy-handed tactics, and for much smaller reductions in risk. Diminishing returns kick in. And at a certain point, the returns stop completely. You will never, ever have no traffic deaths, unless you ban driving. You will never, ever have no playground injuries, unless you bar kids from playing on the playground. Zero deaths, zero accidents, zero risk is a dangerous and unrealistic goal. We have to stop pandering to a public that is so afraid that they will accept nothing less than zero risk, and stop allowing insurance companies to dictate that policies geared toward zero-risk are in place.

    I was reading something the other day–about housekeeping, of all things–saying that the desire for the work to just be done (to not have to wash the dishes again or fold the laundry again or sweep the floor again) is a denial of life, because life means work. I’d say that life also means risk. These desire for zero risk ends up being a very anti-life way to live. We should of course be sensible in reducing risk, but at a certain point, we have done all we sanely and reasonable can and need to accept that further reducing risk is going to require unreasonable effort for very small (or no) benefits.

  7. SKL June 18, 2015 at 11:38 am #

    Off topic to this post, but did you hear about the news in Cleveland where a dad was handcuffed because he let his 6 year old daughter go 25 feet away from him and dip her feet into ankle-deep water?

    Rangers don’t want anyone in the water because supposedly there is sharp metal junk in there and sudden changes in water depth. (Note, this is on a beach where kids have played for ages.) They say they told the dad repeatedly to make her get out of there and the dad wouldn’t. I don’t know, I wasn’t there.

  8. Havva June 18, 2015 at 11:48 am #

    I wonder what insurance company covers Montessori schools?… the real AMS or AMI ones where they teach 3 year olds how to use a sharp knife. I have to think that whoever covers them has a much different idea of risk and how to handle liability.

  9. Sneeje June 18, 2015 at 11:53 am #

    I think this is why tort-reform has been discussed for ages and we should all be disgusted hasn’t happened. People should be allowed to sue, but the incentives in the system are all out-of-whack. It defies any kind of common sense that people should be held accountable for injuries like the sidewalk one above, and it defies logic that significant damages can be a possible outcome.

    The behavior that results from our current system, is an extreme avoidance of blame/responsibility on the part of the school system, and extreme measures from insurance companies. We are tort’ing ourselves away from common humanity–people are becoming afraid to help others in need, afraid to apologize, or even take basic steps towards preventing harm because those actions EXPOSE them to more liability than indifference.

  10. librarian June 18, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    The most disturbing thing is that, in reality, even if you watch your kid closely, you often witness an accident and have no time to prevent it. One of my scariest experiences happened when we took our daughter, then a five-year-old, to Washington, DC with us. We were walking in the park near Smithsonian museum, and there were huge bronze vases standing on pedestals. The kid came close to one of them, touched the vase handle and pulled lightly on it. Three adults were looking at her from less then 6 feet away…and it didn’t occur to either of us, that the vase was not secured on a pedestal, but simply stood, rather precariously balanced, on top of it… I remember seeing, as if in slow-motion, how my daughter falls back, hitting the back of her head on hard pavement, and this giant bronze monstrosity, probably double her weight, falls on top of her. I swear, all this time we were running toward her, but were too late to stop it from happening. Fortunately (REALLY fortunately – I don’t even know how) she wasn’t seriously hurt, and we didn’t even need a doctor. No, we didn’t sue Smithsonian. All the above is to say – unless you physically holding them, no amount of watching will prevent things from happening.

  11. Stacey June 18, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    My parents watched me break my leg on a skateboard. I was showing them how well I could ride my friend’s skateboard do they’d buy me one. Needless to say, I lost interest after that. I was supervised. An accident occurred.
    There is no zero risk.

  12. BL June 18, 2015 at 12:24 pm #

    The world would be so safe if people just stopped doing stuff. (rolls eyes)

  13. Andrea June 18, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    Are we to assume none of these kids have ever suffered any injuries at home, whatsoever? Not even a skinned knee? If they did, would these parents sue themselves?

  14. Stacey June 18, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    There are certain dangers or threats that we should mitigate because 1) They happen with a certain frequency and the results are very harmful and 2) The mitigation does not appreciably diminish our quality of life.
    Sadly, many are ignoring these qualifications and are demanding that every awful event result in some law, plan, or procedure that will protect us from “the next time”. We cannot live this way and truly be a free people.
    We have a vulnerability to accidents, miscalculations, or person who wants to commit random acts of killing and is willing to die to perform those acts. Let’s just accept that vulnerability and live free.

  15. Havva June 18, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

    I think we are sending a very wrong message, and one that decreases child safety, when we blame an adult for every single thing that happens to a child. When my daughter was 3, and even still a bit in her 4s, would scold me or my husband and blame us for things she did to herself. For a while there it seems like she could pick up a toy whack herself in the head with it, and it would be (in her opinion) my fault even if I was across the room.

    I have to think she gets that largely from daycare. She loves forms and asks lots of questions. Her teachers have to fill out forms after each accident saying, among other things, what the teachers will do to prevent future accidents.

    The good news is that getting her on a bike seems to have helped clarify for her that she needs to take responsibility for her safety. She is the only one with control of the breaks and handlebars. That we are there to advise her and pick her up if she falls, but she simply must steer and control her speed. Unfortunately it took an unpleasant accident for her to believe what we were telling her. But the sense of responsibility seems to have had a positive impact on her overall sense of taking responsibility for taking care of her herself and her things too.

  16. anonymous mom June 18, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

    @BL, but stop doing stuff while also standing up, because sitting will kill you!


  17. BL June 18, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    “any serious attempt to do so will involve heavy-handed, draconian tactics.”

    So if you’re the government, there’s no downside.

  18. Pam June 18, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

    My son broke his arm at 7 playing football, with several adults (coaches and parents) watching. They were learning how to take a tackle. He took the tackle wrong and landed funny on his arm. I suppose I could have sued them for not making absolutely sure he knew what to do with his arms before they let the other kid tackle him.

    I look at it as he’s got another one of the requisite little boy experiences, 4 weeks in a cast (to go along with the 3 sets of stitches in his forehead between the ages of 2-5).

    He’s now almost 15 and I watched him play goal in soccer last night and took a cleat to the head…this morning he was telling me about the bruises on his shoulder from diving for the ball. He may get hurt playing soccer in a league of 14-18 year old boys. But he probably won’t, at least not more than a few bruises and scrapes.

    But I think the commenter who linked the insurance company to this might be on to something. I’m from Canada, so public insurance for most things. But we do deal with an insurance company for extended health (prescriptions, physio, etc) and dental. And on our forms it asks if the treatment was because of a workplace injury or an auto accident. I believe that’s so that our insurance company can go after workplace compensation for the money if it’s a workplace injury, or the auto insurance company if it was a car accident.

    I’d put money on the fact that the family’s insurance company asked for details of the injury. Parents answer that it happened at school. Insurance company makes/suggests/strongarms the parents into suing the school so that the school’s insurance company pays the bills instead.

  19. anonymous mom June 18, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    @Havva, when my oldest was maybe 4, we were in the public library, and he tripped, and he started yelling, “You tripped me!” at me. I did not trip him. It was pretty mortifying.

    I think kids (people) have a natural tendency to deflect responsibility, and a culture that encourages that is not doing anybody any favors.

  20. Roget the Shrubber June 18, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    The wife and I were members of one of the better fitness certers in our area. Friday evening was family time when childeren were permitted to use the pool and gymnasium areas. One of the posted rules was ‘Children shall remain within an arm’s length of their parent.’ This rule was or course ignored by everyone and unenforced as it made almost any activity impossible.

  21. Michelle June 18, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    Only one of my children has ever broken a bone. (Having EIGHT kids, I consider that pretty damn good!) When my daughter was 4, she broke her arm falling out of bed. Then, when she was 5, she broke her other arm after falling down in the bathroom. Clearly these were completely my fault, for not standing constant guard while she is sleeping and using the toilet. 😛

  22. oncefallendotcom June 18, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

    I thought the old Brickhouse child finder Duracell ad was by far the worst ad I’ve seen in a decade.


    Use Duracell or your kid will be snatched up by white van driving pedos.

  23. velobaby June 18, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

    My son broke his arm falling off a bunk bed at a friend’s house. Our insurance wanted to go after our friend. As if it was somehow their fault. I don’t see how anyone who works at insurance companies can sleep soundly at night. I’d be crippled with guilt if I were them.

  24. Fiamma June 18, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

    I don’t understand the desire or necessity to sue for every accident. The child broke her ankle walking on a sidewalk and they felt that it was right to sue the school district? I’m sorry but the court system has to start booting these types of injury cases out. This is absolutely ridiculous. it’s like accidents have been phased out of human experience. There never is an accident there’s always someone at fault. So what next? Do we sue God when somebody dies? Ridiculous

  25. Fiamma June 18, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

    And allow me to add that if insurance companies are the ones fueling all of this litigious craziness, they need to be held accountable for wasting time and making insurance rates rise to their benefit.

  26. Neil M June 18, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

    You HAVE to go to that linked supervision page. The advice given there for supervising children works just as well as zombie apocalypse guidelines.

  27. Joyce Farrell June 18, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

    When I saw the title, I thought the post was going to be about buying life insurance for children. All money experts will tell you this is a bad idea — the only good time to buy life insurance is when others depend on your income – for example a parent of a young family. But insurance companies prey on our fears. Of course you do not want your child to die! But life insurance premiums do not make good economic sense. However, people sometimes feel they are protecting their children by buying the insurance.

  28. Andre L. June 18, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    In many cases involving injuries, the initiative to sue comes from the health insurer, or from the hefty co-pay/deductibles associated with an injury.

    I don’t want to start a debate about why and how health care in US is so more expensive than in similar countries like Canada, UK, Germany or Australia, but the fact is that a simple limb fracture that doesn’t require surgery is very likely to cost US$ 2-3K, all net expenses considered.

    There is also a gray area regarding whether contact sports, any of them, are “particularly risky” activities subject to higher deductibles (in the same way skiing, racing cars, deep oceanic diving or volunteering as wild firefighting are).

    Often, the insurers will ask how the health incident (trauma, fracture, head injury) happened and then request the parents (legal representatives of a child) to sue the part from whom they think they can recoup money. Because school districts have a special duty to care, it is easier to put these cases in court and get money. Districts are then very scared of punitive damages being added to the “harm and injury” damages, and quickly settle out of court.

  29. James Pollock June 18, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

    I hate to tell you this, but the insurance carrier is being entirely rational.

    They describe an incident in which their client would be sued, and would lose the suit because they were, in fact, negligent.

    Characterizing this as “as if adults can prevent every…” is wrong. It would be more accurate to say “as if adults can prevent every preventable accident.”, which is far less incendiary.

  30. Angela June 18, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

    Sometimes insurance does seem to be its own con game, and that’s coming from someone who works for an insurance company.

    The company I work for, and so I have their health insurance, is non-profit so maybe that explains some of the difference, but my daughter broke her pinky in an after-school program as a kindergardener and broke her wrist at recess in second grade. Neither time did my insurance deny the claims. When my son broke his foot in an accident when a friend was driving, they got the friend’s vehicle insurance info and dealt with them – and only expected to be reimbursed the initial ER visit and the first doctor’s visit 2 days later. They were never reimbursed for the follow-up visits and never pursued them.

    That said, after the vehicle insurance company decided on their settlement with my health insurance company, I got a letter from my health insurance that they were refusing to release the settlement without specific permission from me. Confused, I called them to give my permission. “You know,” paraphrasing the lady who answered the phone, “Legally this money is yours. You can have the check written out to you and then decide if you wish to reimburse your health insurance.” I was dumbstruck. Finally I told her to just pay them. I’m assuming that’s the end of it, since it’s been a few years and I haven’t heard anything since.

  31. anonymous mom June 18, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

    @James, I’m curious as to whether other countries would consider the teachers “negligent” in that situation and allow a school to be sued for potentially millions of dollars in damages, or if only Americans are that “rational.”

  32. bsolar June 18, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

    @Joyce Farrell: “When I saw the title, I thought the post was going to be about buying life insurance for children. All money experts will tell you this is a bad idea — the only good time to buy life insurance is when others depend on your income – for example a parent of a young family.”

    That’s only if the life insurance’s coverage is supposed to balance the loss of income, which typically means a very high benefit. This is not always the case and you can chose a much lower benefit, such as enough to cover e.g. your funeral costs.

    On top of that, coverage is not the only reason people buy a life insurance: you might actually be more interested in a high surrender value. Life insurances are typically taxed advantageously and tend to offer interesting legal protections which means you might want to use them as a financial tool to build savings.

    From this point of view, children statistically have actually a very low mortality rate, which makes the insured risk smaller (read: cheaper). Going for an insurance with minimal benefit will yield maximum value growth. Later you can then surrender the policy and cash in the money, which then could contribute to finance college or the wedding, or a mortgage or whatever.

  33. lollipoplover June 18, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

    “Two teachers were supposed to be supervising the students, but were in the middle of a conversation when the accident occurred.”

    Why does someone always need to be blamed for an accident?
    Do they honestly think that not talking and keeping a hawk eye focus on these china dolls would have a different outcome? The child who fell from the monkey bars wasn’t obeying the rules and was a fault for this accident that she caused herself. No one forced her to perform circus acts by being “in the middle of a conversation”

    All, I mean ALL, of my children have injured themselves on playgrounds while I was right there. Stitches? Saw the whole thing right in front of me and couldn’t stop it. Household accidents (broken ribs from wrestling matches) happened feet away from where I was sitting. And with warning “You better not do that!” before the superfly snuka move. I WAS supervising. It didn’t help.

  34. bsolar June 18, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

    @anonymous mom: “I’m curious as to whether other countries would consider the teachers “negligent” in that situation and allow a school to be sued for potentially millions of dollars in damages, or if only Americans are that “rational.””

    Here the school would likely be found to be liable but the damages would definitely not go that high.

  35. Jessica June 18, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

    @librarian, even holding them has its risks. One of my biggest worries is that one of the older kids will trip me going down the stairs while I’m holding the baby. Also, when I was pregnant with this last one I was holding the 3yo when the baby kicked so hard it startled me and I dropped him. He landed on his feet, luckily, but he was extremely offended.

  36. James Pollock June 18, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    “@James, I’m curious as to whether other countries would consider the teachers “negligent” in that situation and allow a school to be sued for potentially millions of dollars in damages, or if only Americans are that “rational.”

    Negligence arises from English Common Law, so it works pretty much the same in all of the countries that have adopted the common-law system.

    I don’t know of any country, including this one, where a child falling off playground equipment results in a judgment of millions of dollars. (Maybe, if the injuries sustained are particularly severe, such as paraplegia, where the medical care requirements can be expected to continue for decades.)

  37. Jenny Islander June 18, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

    In order to protect my then-toddler son from the danger of scalds and burns, I forbade him from hanging around my feet in the kitchen while I prepared dinner. (It’s a tiny kitchen; if he had been in the kitchen at all, he would have been hanging around my feet.) I couldn’t let him go into the yard with his older siblings because we have no fence and they were not old enough to watch him. I opened the steel front door, which is right next to our kitchen, so that he could watch his big sisters through the glass door just beyond it. He was at that whacking and banging age, so I handed him the thing that I had used to let his sisters get their whacking urge out at the same age without injury, maddening noise, or property damage: a blunt-ended wooden chopstick.

    Six hours later he was on a med flight to the top pediatric surgical unit in the Pacific Northwest because he’d managed, while sitting about 4 feet away from me, without making a sound or even getting up on his feet, to stab himself in the palate, thisclose to a major artery.

    They will find a way. They will always find a way.

  38. Eric S June 18, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    Even people with business degrees can be utterly stupid. Example, even if the teachers were eagle eyes the whole time. It’s is impossible to keep an eye on every single kid. If your looking at one, your not looking at the rest. And in that few seconds were your watching one child, another could have climbed up on the monkey bars ready to walk across. Then you catch the kid standing there, and you yell to get down, or be careful. They get surprised, lose their balance and fall.

    The ONLY way children will not get injured while in school, is to lock them in a room, and to their chairs. With no sharp objects, items that can suffocate them (ie. a bag), no food or water (they may choke on it. Choking is more common with children than being abducted). Basically, there will never be a 100% way of keeping kids from being injured, doing kids stuff. And really, kids ARE SUPPOSE to get hurt. Think of it as a right of passage. If you haven’t been injured as a kid playing, you haven’t been a kid.

    Kids get hurt all the time. That is NORMAL. Let it go. This is just an insurance companies way of regulating policies and premiums, so they have a loop hole that they can use to NOT pay out in the event of a mishap. They don’t have the children’s best interest. They’re only concerned about theirs.

  39. bluebird of bitterness June 18, 2015 at 4:07 pm #

    My daughter broke her arm on the (supervised) school playground during recess almost thirty years ago, and it never once occurred to either her father or me to sue anyone. She was jumping off the monkey bars, and she just landed the wrong way. Accidents happen. I wish there were a way to cure people of this mindset that if something happens, someone has to be sued, but I suppose that’s a pipe dream.

  40. lena June 18, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

    I hate the ratios.
    1 adult will sometimes have trouble supervising 1 child.

    but nooooo in a school setting 1 teacher can have 6, 7, 8 or even 9 kids and got help them if anything goes wrong. That teacher was not doing her job!

    My mom is a prschool teacher and had a similar situation where the ratio was 1-8 (all 5 yearolds, 2 or which were known to be extremely aggressive due to home situations), she was the only teacher and a fight broke out with one of the aggressive kids.
    Meanwhile the other aggressive kid somehow dragged a girl 10 feet, through the sand by her hair. (at least that’s what it said on the investigation report after the girl told her mom.)

    Yes my mom got written up for not properly supervising

  41. Eric S June 18, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

    @velobaby: “I don’t see how anyone who works at insurance companies can sleep soundly at night.”

    You’d be surprised at what people will do for money and/or a promotion. Plenty of people dying because of corporate greed, and those executives sleep just fine. They just don’t care.

  42. Yocheved June 18, 2015 at 4:13 pm #

    Oh my gosh. Among my daughter’s friends, you are not COOL until you have broken a bone. Until then, you are considered a baby, and haven’t really “lived”. I’m happy to say that the parents I know just chalk it up to a rite of passage, let their kid revel in the attention, and then get on with life.

    My kiddo has not broken anything yet, but it’s not for a lack of trying. Sometimes, if she meets a new kid, she’ll lie and tell them about the time she fell off the swings and broke her arm. I call it “injury envy”.

  43. BL June 18, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

    @velobaby: “I don’t see how anyone who works at insurance companies can sleep soundly at night.”

    They’re pure as angels compared to politicians.

  44. bsolar June 18, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

    @velobaby: “My son broke his arm falling off a bunk bed at a friend’s house. Our insurance wanted to go after our friend. As if it was somehow their fault. I don’t see how anyone who works at insurance companies can sleep soundly at night. I’d be crippled with guilt if I were them.”

    I work at an insurance company and I sleep very well at night: it’s not like all insurance companies are evil incarnate.

    The rationale of your insurance company might not be completely off either: here depending on how the accident happened it could actually be true that your friend was liable, e.g. if the bunk bed lacked proper railing.

    If something like that were to happen to me I would simply let my and my friend’s respective insurance companies sort the issue between themselves. To me or my friend it would be inconsequential, since in one case the bill would get paid by my accident insurance, otherwise by his civil liability insurance.

    After all, that’s why we pay insurance in the first place…

  45. Donald June 18, 2015 at 6:09 pm #

    Children don’t always listen to what the adults teach them. However the NEVER fail to mimic these adults.

    “………………every time an accident happens, someone is to blame…………”

    Kids started to learn this 30 years ago, have become parents themselves, and are teaching their children this.

    It’s easy to blame insurance. However one of the reasons why they’re becoming anal is BECAUSE the blame game is so deeply ingrained. We need to look at ourselves as well.

  46. Barry Lederman June 18, 2015 at 7:12 pm #

    “Two teachers were supposed to be supervising the students, but were in the middle of a conversation when the accident occurred. If the teachers were supervising properly this injury never would have occurred.”

    I agree. If the teachers were looking at the child, the laws of physics would have been morphed and the girl would have gently floated through the air rather than hurtle downward as she did.

    It irks me when it says “middle of a conversation”. It leaves the impression that they were frivolously chatting about fashion or their favorite TV show or whatever. How do you know what they were talking about? Maybe they were talking about something relevant to the job at hand.

  47. James Pollock June 18, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

    “Maybe they were talking about something relevant to the job at hand.”

    More relevant than enforcing the safety rules?

  48. steve bowes June 18, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

    In regards to how litigious parents have become, here’s my story. We chose our daycare because just outside of their back gate is a huge forested park where they take the kids to play. One day my 3 year old got lost for an hour. Everyone panicked and a the woman who found him called the police. Luckily the police just happily found the preschool group and returned him. My wife and I were obviously concerned and discussed what we should do about it. In the end we decided that our preschool is great and that sometimes things like this just happen. I’m sure the director was beyond relief when we told her that. Imagine what other parents would have done???

  49. Warren June 18, 2015 at 8:04 pm #

    Don’t are what they were talking about. They are not guarding Buckingham Palace. They can move and talk.

    You should talk less and duck more.

  50. Jona June 18, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

    Or…we could have good health coverage and decent wages. Then people might not feel the need to claim damages on everything. When your kid gets hurt, you have bills, miss work, and generally loose money all around. It sucks, but often times the only recourse you have is litigation.

  51. James Pollock June 18, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

    “In regards to how litigious parents have become, here’s my story. We chose our daycare because just outside of their back gate is a huge forested park where they take the kids to play.”

    They should make little stickers with the address and phone number of the daycare on it, for the kids that can’t remember either.
    Of course, I bet after losing one, they’ll be hyper-vigilant for a while…

  52. SKL June 18, 2015 at 11:54 pm #

    This discussion reminds me of the first time my kid sister broke her arm. She was a petite 4yo and was jumping back and forth between the couch and the coffee table. Her 14yo sister told her, “stop doing that or you’re going to break your arm.” 4yo decided to try it just one more time – slipped – and broke her arm. :/

  53. Bob Davis June 19, 2015 at 1:41 am #

    Regarding “Zero Risk”: I read some of the “Streetsblog” websites, which advocate for safer street conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians. One campaign they have be covering is called “Vision Zero”, the goal of having no traffic-related deaths in, for example, San Francisco. It’s a wonderful idea, and part of the program involves reconfiguring streets to make fast driving difficult or impossible. Some of the Streetsbloggers would like to see private vehicles banned from the city, but you’re just as dead if you get run over by a transit bus as you would be if you were hit by a bond trader in a Mercedes, and SF has more than its share of “winos and weirdos” who often are lacking in self-preservation skills.

    Regarding insurance companies: In some cases a company or other organization will dismiss a request by saying “Our insurance won’t let us” when they really mean “we don’t want to do it because we’d have to work harder” or some other real but unflattering reason.

  54. sexhysteria June 19, 2015 at 2:19 am #

    Sometimes teachers are busy talking to each other or smoking instead of doing their jobs (monitoring their pupils). That shouldn’t be defended.

  55. Cassie June 19, 2015 at 3:51 am #

    Oh my gosh. I do playground duty all the time.

    I hate playground duty. It doesn’t get much more boring than standing around watching kids play – can’t read a book, can’t have a yarn, can’t do anything other than stare around looking for infractions, and potential dangers.

    The only relief is standing next to a colleague having a yarn.

  56. Cassie June 19, 2015 at 3:55 am #

    Also in defense of teachers…. The only time they get to talk, and the conversations are overwhelmingly work related, is during the lunch breaks… All other time is in class or on playground duty or in meetings.

    If I need to talk to a colleague, I hunt her down on playground duty!!

  57. MichaelF June 19, 2015 at 5:47 am #

    Looking at this in a matter of severity, a hurt ankle while inconvenient is hardly a broken arm and a broken arm is hardly lasting damage. Why does there need to be a suit? Because of thoughts that someone is responsible and ideas like this:

    “If something like that were to happen to me I would simply let my and my friend’s respective insurance companies sort the issue between themselves. To me or my friend it would be inconsequential, since in one case the bill would get paid by my accident insurance, otherwise by his civil liability insurance”

    Uh, no. For someone who supposedly works for an insurance company you’re missing out on the fact that now you have “dealt with the insurance company” with a friend who is now potentially going to have premium increases. Few things kill a friendship like money. Or what smells like lawsuit, because if your friend doesn’t want to pay, or their insurance company doesn’t then it goes to court. Its the idea that someone is responsible and someone has to pay that taints all this.

    My nephew got a fractured leg from playing around with my cousin, something he did with all the kids by flipping them over and landing them on their feet when they were young. My nephew landed wrong and he had to get a cast. No law suits, no insurance companies needed to talk. It’s become a funny story for the family and everyone gets along. My son and another nephew were playing, my nephew fell and fractured his arm, we felt bad and helped with the hospital bills but that was it. Nothing more.

    Accidents are just that and simple ones don’t need extra entanglements.

  58. FRM June 19, 2015 at 9:30 am #

    This is the mentality that spurred the last article; (with parents instructing kids how to play) this idea that adults will be able prevent injury if they are there to supervise. It’s nonsensical and I can’t believe that people would actually resolve to think a childhood free of injury is somehow superior to avoiding it at all costs! What’s that phrase again? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?

    Little Johnny ate all of his spinach, but never was allowed to play outside… Now he can’t even lift a hammer!

  59. Megan June 19, 2015 at 10:03 am #

    In September I was hiking in the woods and got knocked over by a stray dog, severely fracturing my ankle. Everyone, and I mean everyone, asked if I was planning on sueing. Why? Because a family whose had just adopted a dog didn’t know about a small gap in their fence behind some trees? Because even though they were actively looking for their dog at the time of the accident they didn’t find it in time? In frustration I answered the latest health care provider to ask with, “Prove it wasn’t my dog that knocked me over.” She told me that my children, ages 5 & 8, were old enough to testify. I was disgusted. This woman is a mental health professional and thought nothing of putting my two young kids through a potential deposition with cross examination for the gain of a few dollars.

  60. bob m June 19, 2015 at 10:33 am #



  61. bsolar June 19, 2015 at 10:36 am #

    @Megan: “In September I was hiking in the woods and got knocked over by a stray dog, severely fracturing my ankle. Everyone, and I mean everyone, asked if I was planning on sueing. Why? Because a family whose had just adopted a dog didn’t know about a small gap in their fence behind some trees? Because even though they were actively looking for their dog at the time of the accident they didn’t find it in time?”

    There should be no need for a lawsuit: the owner of the dog should understand that his dog caused you an injury, he should understands that he’s liable for damages caused by his dogs and he should reimburses you.

    I mean, if your dog were to cause injury to somebody else, would you reimburse him only if he drags you into court?

  62. Elin June 19, 2015 at 10:50 am #

    @James, I’m curious as to whether other countries would consider the teachers “negligent” in that situation and allow a school to be sued for potentially millions of dollars in damages, or if only Americans are that “rational.”

    I’m Swedish and I am pretty sure the falling on the sidewalk would have been seen as just falling on the sidewalk and no one would think of it. Outdoor lessons are encouraged by most parents and not something weird or out there but a normal feature of school in particular in the warmer periods at the beginning and at the end of the school year.

    The second one would probably warrant an accident report within the school and the school insurance company might have to pay for the broken arm. If there were claims of inattentiveness I assume that if the school had some kind of guideline for adults supervising and they were followed the claims would be dismissed and there would not be much more said. If they did not have a policy if they got one quickly and had the equipment investigated to see that it was not faulty I think that would also be seen as enough.

    I don’t think too many parents here would have been too concerned about either incident but perhaps a little more with the second if not this was one of several incidents of the same nature and there would be real concern of adult actually not looking out for the kids the best way possible.

  63. A reader June 19, 2015 at 10:59 am #

    When are people going to accept that kids have accidents and get hurt, no matter what you do? One of my boys got stitches at the tender age of eighteen months and it happened right in front of me. I was actually encouraging him to climb the thing he was climbing because it was stable and not so high off the ground. What I didn’t account for was that it was right next to a cornered piece of furniture and when he fell, he hit the corner and got cut right next to his eyebrow. Then you have to deal with the hospital grilling you because they work on the assumption of “neglectful/abusive until proven innocent” (thank God I passed the test. Though I do wonder if a mother of a darker hue would have passed as easily…) Then, the insurance sends you a form to fill about the circumstances of the accident because they will look for any reason under the sun to get out of paying. Miraculously, I passed that test too. And thank God for that, because those four stitches cost $500 (are they using gold thread to stitch kids up these days??)

  64. Havva June 19, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    In going down the rabbit hole of links from the insurance company, I came across the interesting note that there has been an uptick in the injury rates of very young children on playgrounds. This comes from ER visits, and thus might be illusory. My Pediatrician recommended a trip to the ER for stitches my father could have done in his office or a home. This uptick, of course, was blamed on texting while parenting, and smartphones.

    I would love to see an insurance company compare the rate of early childhood injuries among customers to the rates of car accidents among that same demographic when they become drivers. It would be really great if they surveyed parents about what age children were first allowed to go somewhere out of sight unescorted, at the time of adding a teen to the insurance, and then compare the car accident rates in the first year of driving. Or run a comparison between areas with varying ages at which kids are allowed off the school bus or out of the school without an adult.

    I honestly think there are valuable lessons to be learned from childhood falls and mistakes I think if the insurance companies saw that small mistakes when young teach lessons necessary to prevent large mistakes when they are older, the insurance companies might become a powerful force to improve our culture.

  65. Warren June 19, 2015 at 11:28 am #


    Piss off, with that attitude. You want a teacher for your kids that gets no breaks, not allowed to talk, then home school. I prefer to treat teachers as humans.

  66. Warren June 19, 2015 at 11:38 am #

    A private health care system, which requires you to carry health insurance seems to be the root of the problem.

    The last ER trip for me was my shoulder dislocation, and no one around that I could get to help put it back. Other than regular intake health questions, the only other questions, what were you doing, and how long ago. They don’t care about placing blame. I was helping a buddy at his place. And no mention of that ever appears anywhere.

    A shot of muscle relaxant, a little pain and I was done. Out of pocket cost $0.00.

  67. Kate June 19, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    To be fair, I have friends whose kids have been injured and needed ER care or surgery and the family’s medical insurance company sends a form where they have to indicate if the injury occurred at a school, camp, daycare, at home, in an auto accident, etc. so that the medical insurer can try to force someone else’s insurance to pay for the medical care! These people did NOT want to litigate against the other party for their kid falling off of a jungle gym or tripping and falling at daycare, but their medical insurer can push the issue by threatening to not cover the injury if the form isn’t filled out.

  68. JP Merzetti June 19, 2015 at 4:35 pm #

    Well, there is zero tolerance to so many things now, that of course there is going to be zero tolerance to risk.
    People do tend to do an awful lot of dumb things. It’s up for debate I suppose, whether or not that dumbness has accelerated, over time.
    But it is beyond question of any doubt that the great game of Insurance tiddlywinks has ramped up into overdrive.
    Somebody somewhere is sure to come up with some bright new idea about how to value-add a kid.
    Just for being a kid.

    I fell out of bed while fast asleep, a number of years back. Dreamt, I was flying, discovered that I actually was, and then hit the floor. Took two days off work with a sore back, while soft-carpeting the hardwood floor on that side. Who to sue? The Sandman?

    If litigation becomes the biggest game in town, everybody loses.

  69. The Other Mandy June 19, 2015 at 11:17 pm #

    My baby is one today and got a black eye while my mom was watching her. Mom was mortified. I just told her, “If you don’t get hurt, you’re not having fun.”

    When I was 30, I was thrown from a snowmobile (a “watch this!” moment), and excitedly called my mom to tell her I’d finally gotten stitches.

    Getting banged up is part of the game. The alternative is death from sitting.

  70. Chuck99 June 20, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

    the trouble is that insurance companies are companies… businesses. They are NOT our friends. They exist to take as much money from us as they can, while giving as little back as possible. If they have to wrap children in plastic and put them in storage to achieve that, it’s not skin off their nose.

  71. bsolar June 21, 2015 at 7:45 am #

    @Chuck99: “the trouble is that insurance companies are companies… businesses. They are NOT our friends.”

    That’s true for all companies and it’s a fact too easily forgotten. That’s why you want true competition, so that companies have to mind their own reputation, and eventually regulation. Here insurance companies compete fiercely against each other and to win customers reputation is very important to them. They are very strictly regulated too and heavily fined if they misbehave.

    The end result is that insurance companies tend to behave well and are not seen in a bad light in general. This is not because they are good or friendly: it’s because otherwise they go out of business.

  72. Warren June 21, 2015 at 8:43 am #

    As long as your system is a for profit health care system paid for by profit driven insurance companies, there will always be lawsuits, and insurance companies dictating how you live.

  73. Rina June 22, 2015 at 3:13 pm #


    I have a dirt slope on my lawn and me and the other neighbors love to bike down it. Of course we always have another kid down the hill checking for cars because it is a very dangerous corner, and then we bike down when the coast is clear. You have no idea how many complaints from moms we have gotten. This one Third graders mom always yelled at us for doing it and some of the kids stopped but I kept doing it (after she walked away of course) because she is not my mom and my parents let me do it. Then while I was biking down the slope, I curved to go down a diff path and I fell off my bike. What happened? I immediately stood right up and I was completely fine. Then one of the other kids told this mom that we were still biking down the hill, and she came back to yell at us. She was like “if u fall it will hurt and you can break your bones or die or whatever”. I just ignored her and when she finished I told her that I did fall and it didn’t hurt and i’m allowed to do that and she is not my mother and my mother lets me do it. then once again I waited till she left, and continued going down the hill.

  74. AnnMarie June 26, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

    Sue the school? My daughter hurt her back jumping off a swing, was sent home in pain, riding her bike with a heavy backpack. Hospital bill copays were pretty expensive (nearing $1000 since we went to the ER given the time and not knowing our doctor had Xrays available, and no urgent care in our community). But it never occurred to me–till now–to sue the school. Kids hurt themselves. We have health insurance. Deal with it!

    (And no, I will not sue the school, even though they should have called us to pick her up. Ended up she was just bruised, by the way; we were afraid of a broken tailbone.)

  75. AnnMarie June 26, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    PS, and you can tell I’m pretty free range. Didn’t even blink when she came home and said she hadn’t even seen the nurse at school (this happened just before they were sent home). My husband on the other hand was pretty mad we’d not been called. But he didn’t consider suing or anything either.