Automatic External Defibrillators in Ballparks

Does General Liability provide coverage for negligent use?

Several states have enacted legislation requiring sports organizations to make available automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) at the ballpark and training staff in their location and use.The question that often arises is “Does our General Liability policy provide coverage if something goes wrong and the sports organization and the person administering the AED are sued?”
The applicable provisions in most General Liability policy forms are as follows:
  • Does the policy have a professional medical services exclusion that applies to the sports organization as an entity itself and to all other insured persons?
  • To what extent does the policy limit the scope of coverage for employees and volunteers as follows:

Section II — Who Is An Insured

2. Each of the following is also an insured:

a. Your “volunteer workers… or your employees” However, none are insureds for:

(1) “Bodily Injury” or “personal and advertising injury”:

(d) Arising out of his or her providing or failing to provide professional health care services.

According to K&K Insurance Group, the simple answer is that the standard General Liability policy form will likely respond to such a lawsuit if the AED is administered by a lay person. This situation is considered to be more like the rendering of first aid rather than a professional health care service. On the other hand, if the AED is administered by a nurse or doctor, their own Professional Liability policy would likely provide primary coverage.  Of course, they add the normal disclaimer that coverage for any claim will stand on its own unique circumstances and all policy coverages, exclusions, limitations, conditions, and definitions will apply.

Apparently, AED technology is greatly improved to the extent that it is almost impossible to make an error in its use. The newer models will only activate if no heart beat is detected or if the heart is so out of rhythm that the patient is in a life threatening situation.

Please see our article on AEDs in public schools.