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Outlaw / Private Fields Playing paintball in your backyard or other non-business run field

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Old 03-12-2011, 02:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The Insurance problem.

I want to be straight forward here. I own a commercial field, I used to play outlaw in high school because I have 425 acres of farm to play on and I'll be damned if I'm paying someone else to play on their land. Now I have a commercial field on the same places I used to play.

On to the issue Insurance and the catch 22. What do I mean?
Important things to know about your insurance, Home Owners/property owners insurance will not protect you from a suit involving paintball on your property. You will need paintball specific coverage, there are a few companies that cover this in the US and are easily found with a Google search.

Here is where the problems start:
Problem 1- This coverage is expensive, as a commercial field it's part of my pricing structure. As a home owner/property is can be prohibitively expensive. Most will choose to take their chance on a homemade waiver and the goodness of the players they choose to allow. If a serious injury (god forbid) happens the player or his insurance company may have no choice but to come after you for expenses incurred by the event.

Problem 2- The catch 22- You buck up and get the paintball specific coverage from an insurance co. that deals in PB/recreational ins. You may still not be covered! There are certain minimum criteria that you must meet in order to get and keep the coverage. Some but not all are, number of ref's per player, netting requirements, chrono speeds, ramping modes, player age, signage, use of rockets/mines, and the nature of the land. If there is an incident even if you are insured you may not be covered. The insurer may find you did not do your due diligence to maintain the field to the proper standard and you won't be covered. This would seem more likely in the event of a high dollar incident (eye injury/death/amputation).
How is this a problem? If your field isn't maintained, you can loose your coverage. If your refs don't exist or are 14 and working for paint, you aren't covered. It goes on and on, but you guys get the idea.
What's my point to all this? I'm in no way saying only play at a commercial field, what I am saying is know the consequences of playing at an unknown property. As a player, no one plans on getting hurt but it does happen, what happens then? As the landowner, what happens when someone does get hurt? Who is responsible? Who will pay for medical expenses, loss of income etc? In the litigious society today these questions should be on your mind as both a player and or a property owner. Ignoring them can be more expensive then finding a solution.

If any one would like to see a blank copy of my insurance application LMK and I'll email it.

tl;dr CYA when you play. If you have no insurance you can get screwed, getting insurance makes you for all practical purposes a commercial field.
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Old 03-12-2011, 02:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for posting this quality information.. one thing that drives me crazy is all the craigslist ads where they are trying to organize games yet when you call them and ask them if they have permission to play there, they start out with 'oh yeah definitely'. However your next question should be who owns the property as that question usually has them fumbling their words in some kinda twisted 'its my brothers cousins half removed sister of a sisters grandmas friends property' and said person probably does not know the person organizing the game.

While tubboaters information is great info for running a field as a player you need to be responsible too. KNOW where you are playing. Land ownership is public information and if you don't know the owner and cops show up its on you. Therefore if you have any doubts look it up or go to your county records and look it up and call the owner up yourself. The point I am making here is that trespassing is trespassing whether you did it by knowingly or not. Yes you may be able to talk your way out of it but in my experience at a local field myself and a few others got talked into going out to a field and got told up and down that they can play there and everything is good and so on and so forth however at the end of the day the cops where out there waiting for us and asking why we where trespassing as they had been there the previous weekend telling people not to trespass. Luckily we did get out of it but the cops could have ruined our day and caused one hell of an inconvenience for us if they had wished to do so.

Moral of the story as an owner or a player remember to be responsible!
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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If your refs don't exist or are 14 and working for paint, you aren't covered. It goes on and on, but you guys get the idea.
I had to think about this one for a second..

I'de guess around half of the commercial fields are uninsured. Its a simple check - just look for the APL, CIA or NSERA logo on their waivers.

I'de guess most of the other half (that ones that pay for insurance) are likely in violation of some of the due diligence required by their insurance companies and are therefore likely paying for nothing - and hence effectively uninsured.

Way back in the early days the APL had serialized waivers - and I believe the fields paid the APL $2-$3 PER WAIVER. And somehow the early fields were regulated. My point is some of the entry fee I paid as a player went towards paying for good liability coverage that the field worked hard to maintain (and paid good $$ to have). ie., the first $2-$3 of my entry fee was for liability coverage.

IMO, the 25 year old dirty little secret: I think as time went on many commercial fields dropped the coverage, lost the concern for maintaining their fields (and training their staff) in a manner to maintain that coverage, and just kept the extra $2-$3 as a token of our appreciation and then pretended to be covered.

I salute the few fields that do it right.
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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So in other words, if you are a landowner and you play with others on your land, no matter if everyones been told by word of mouth or you have Insurance up the wazoo, if someone wants to do you in then your done?

Now, up here in the great white north, things may be alttle different. If someone gets hurt, that should be covered by Health care right? (Chime in here my fellow Cunucks)
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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No, you are still screwed.

No waiver is air-tight. All someone has to do is prove negligence and you are done.
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:59 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I want to be clear in that I'm not in any way suggesting you don't play Outlaw. I'm just trying to make sure you know the issues that can arise from playing on private property. My waivers are provided by my insurance company. In general, you can't sign away your right to sue, they are merely a deterrent to litigation and an attempt to make players aware of the hazards of playing. While some fields do employ volunteers, I'm not sure how their Ins. Co. would deal with a claim. If it really came down to it I think it would be deemed negligence. They signed an application saying all refs are over 16 but they weren't, a lawyer would have a field day with that.
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I have a question. I thought about this the other day. If I am at a a legit field, IE they have insurance and I am paying to play. Lets say the field does not change the lens in the rental mask like the insurance company's require. And lets say I shoot some poor person/ kid in the face and it goes through the age old rental mask lens. Who is to say the person or kids parents dont come after me? Am I protected by the fields insurance or would I need my own insurance for protection? Also could I go after the field because they are non compliant with the insurance standards?? Any one thought about this one lately? Just thought I would ask... and thought this might be the place to do so. If I am wrong I am sorry...
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Old 03-13-2011, 09:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
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.. Any one thought about this one lately? Just thought I would ask... and thought this might be the place to do so...
right thread - right topic - and right on!

You hit on one of my biggest personal fears when playing at a commercial field. When playing w/ veteran players anywhere I'm pretty sure they keep their own gear in tip-top shape - including their goggle lenses. I've seen more than my share of rental goggles that I would NEVER wear or want my kid to wear when playing where the owner never replaced the worn and sun damaged lenses. While the odds of shooting through the stressed lenses are pretty small, its the "what if" that gets pretty scary. I remember once I was playing when one of the seals on my unireg leaked and my sniper when hot for while. I shot a 10year old around the waist line and left a nasty blood bruise. I still feel bad about that one (7 years later). I can't image what it would be like to put a round though a kid's goggles.

guys: regardless of the field, look at the goggles of the players and especially the rental goggle lenses. Raise hell if you need to. There are too many owners and managers who don't do any maintenance until the wheel squeaks.

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And lets say I shoot some poor person/ kid in the face and it goes through the age old rental mask lens. Who is to say the person or kids parents dont come after me? Am I protected by the fields insurance or would I need my own insurance for protection?...
Bear : If that kid gets hurt bad, you know mama is gonna lawyer up quick and in a hurry, (and/or her insurance company is gonna lawyer up..) and those lawyers will go after everyone they can think of: The field, the field owner, the field manager, the field refs, the goggle manufacturer and the shooter. I wouldn't count on the fields waiver or insurance (if any) to cover you in any way.
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Old 03-13-2011, 09:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The insurance issue is a valid one. The question becomes, aside from thhe owner, are you as a player any better off at a commercial field? Does there insurane protect you?
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Old 03-13-2011, 11:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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So in other words, if you are a landowner and you play with others on your land, no matter if everyones been told by word of mouth or you have Insurance up the wazoo, if someone wants to do you in then your done?

Now, up here in the great white north, things may be alttle different. If someone gets hurt, that should be covered by Health care right? (Chime in here my fellow Cunucks)
Your medical costs will be covered. Any lost wages, or loss of future earning potential will not be covered. If you can't work anymore, you may be eligible for welfare of some sort. If that doesn't meet your needs (I know it wouldn't meet mine) you can go after and sue if you feel someone else is responsible and hope to get some compensation that way.
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