Injured at a Race? What happens next?

ndvalium

Rescue Director
I have been asked a few times lately about what happens when someone gets hurt at an off road race. Not about how medical care is provided but what happens afterwards. When the bills start coming in. Having shared way too many Go Fund Me links in the last decade, I can tell you no one is ever truly prepared.

There appears to be a big misconception among some on what is covered and how it is paid. Even some of the top tier experienced and funded teams. So I thought I would try and help everyone understand based on my experiences.

I won’t speak of SCORE as I have not been involved with them since Sal and Paul turned it over and am not familiar with their Mexico operations these days but as far as racing any form of motorsports in the US, the race promoter does not carry medical policies to cover racers in the event they are injured. Best in the Desert, SNORE, MORE, KOH – None of them carry Medical insurance for your injuries if something happens. Racers, Crews and anyone else associated is responsible for their own care and subsequently, their own medical costs. This includes but not limited to: Transportation by ground or air, Emergency Care, Hospitalization, Rehabilitation or anything else associated to your care. If you are a SCORE racer, I encourage you to ask SCORE directly how it works in Mexico.

Promoters carry many forms of insurance and almost all are focused at various forms of liability insurance that is required by the various permitting agencies.

Crossing a state highway? That’s a policy. Take out a fence on private property? That’s a different policy. Selling alcohol on site? Oh that’s a big policy. Allowing spectators? Let me add some zeros to this policy. These are all liability policies in various formats. When you pay an “insurance fee” to a promoter on their entry form, these are the insurances you are covering. Not you own private medical coverage.

Now many will say, “Well I have medical coverage through my job.” or whatever:

That more often than not means absolutely nothing. In almost every single policy, there will be a disclaimer that will eliminate coverage for competitive events. This can be Motorsports or even something as simple as many of the 1 ball sports. You often need an addendum to your policy to cover higher risk activities. Now in some cases, the way the medical facility charts the incident, insurance may cover it not knowing it was part of an organized race.

I know of at least one race promoter that is looking seriously into medical coverage for racers. While I wish them nothing but success, 28 years of professional band aid applier experience tells me this is potentially not only cost prohibitive but in order to cover any person, from any country, and any pre-existing medical condition could be a significant challenge to coordinate.

Now lets talk Helicopters:

First off lets be clear, helicopters in Mexico, vs the US is like comparing Apples to Matchbox cars. In Mexico your private helicopter can, will and should be used to get you the help you need in a shortest amount of time. Your “personal paramedics” on board are going to do what they can to help you in the situation and have very little if any personal liability.

In the US however, the FAA governs things that happen on board helicopters. Patients being flown for definitive care at a medical facility can only be transported by medical licensed and certified helicopters. If you show up at a US hospital in a private helicopter your pilot can potentially end up in a lot of trouble. Are some willing to risk that for the situation? Yes they are. Is it the right thing to do in some situations? Yeah it probably is! I have made that call before. Given the facts of the situation at the time, I would do it again.

A private helicopter in the US with a paramedic on board is not a medical helicopter. They are not allowed to practice as a paramedic and are violating many laws by attempting anything more than basic first aid. If your team Paramedic is starting IV’s, giving medications, or other advanced skills, they are violating many laws and are risking their license / certification. Again there are many willing to risk this and that is their decision to make. This is number one reason my team has transitioned to a professional, licensed, insured group with an on site medical director at events. It allows us much more capabilities and skills to provide to the racers.

I have in the past pushed extensively getting medical helicopter insurance. Air Method’s Advantage is the one I recommended to the racers I support as they cover all the events that we do races at. However as some found out this last month, that program has been shut down. (The insurance not Air Methods) I am currently waiting for communication back on what that means for the future. They are no longer accepting renewals but current policies remain in place until their expiration. I pay for my entire team to carry this insurance each year in case things go bad. A 50-60,000.00 bill wiped clean by a 35.00 subscription per year is a no brainer for me. Hopefully something new comes out for this type coverage and I will share when I get answers. Their current statement is their patient advocacy counselors will work on your behalf to negotiate a bill settlement, but I am not a fan of this type response.

I don’t have all the answers but I know some in this group have done far more homework than I have on this subject.

So lets hear it. What has worked for you and your team in Mexico or in the US and what do you need to look for and add to your policies to save yourself and your family from deep financial impact when something happens?
 

jon coleman

Well-Known Member
good info, i never considered risks when racing in mex, but if you have kids, obligations, ect., you had better have the financial affairs in order, ive read a recent story of an injury ( race) and driver had no med.ins, but has a family and obligations, that is not looking ahead, life is risky, racing & motorsport a little bit more, so do what is responsible in your situation
 

Mark_Weyhrich

Well-Known Member
I would also make sure you have an addendum to your life insurance policy. It is easy to do, but will cost you more. And if you ever quit racing, you can simply remove it.
 

Dave Cole 4454

Well-Known Member
David,
Please check your facts. ULTRA4 carries both Legal Liability and Medical insurance for not only drivers and codrivers but also all registered pit crew. It is through USAC and has been that way for 10 years.

I appreciate your intentions but we have put significant effort into obtaining and retaining the level of coverage provided.

This coverage applies to all of our participants domestically, in Mexico, and Europe.


Dave
 

GBRACER

Well-Known Member
I get a specific policy to cover the event I am competing in, costs me usually $100 for the Baja 1000, you just never know never raced in USA for the last 10 years
 

ndvalium

Rescue Director
David,
Please check your facts. ULTRA4 carries both Legal Liability and Medical insurance for not only drivers and codrivers but also all registered pit crew. It is through USAC and has been that way for 10 years.

I appreciate your intentions but we have put significant effort into obtaining and retaining the level of coverage provided.

This coverage applies to all of our participants domestically, in Mexico, and Europe.


Dave
I was not aware. I had asked a couple racers and they said that they weren’t aware. That’s great to hear Dave. My apologies for the misinformation.
 

isdtbower

Well-Known Member
I might add that Dave also requires Media to have the Usac insurance. It is nominal with a choice of per race or yearly. Thumbs up.
 

AZ7000'

Well-Known Member
Additionally group health insurance from your work usually don't have exclusions for racing, sky diving, scuba, etc. Individual policies do. Too many generalities in the OP to be wholly accurate but it may prompt folks to take a look at their own policies...
 

Honda48X

Well-Known Member
Insurance usually does not apply once you are on a track or entered into a race. My brother (not to smart) took his pickup out on a dirt tract in what they call spectator drags. (Spectators actually go out on the 1/2 mile track with two vehicles going around the track one lap and the winner moves on and can win 500 bucks). Well that did not work well and he hit the barrier after going into the turn to hot. Needless to say he tried to get State Farm insurance to pay for it and they said once he entered that track his auto insurance would not cover any damage.
 

AZ7000'

Well-Known Member
Auto coverage vs medical coverage is quite different.
 

SuperRanger

Well-Known Member
Two things:
The USAC insurance is ok but only 50k (I believe) that backs up your health insurance. It used to be 300k in front of your insurance. Still way better than nothing.

I asked my group health insurance if they would cover my son if the was an accident in a SCORE race. Answer was yes.

Be safe
 

jon coleman

Well-Known Member
Insurance usually does not apply once you are on a track or entered into a race. My brother (not to smart) took his pickup out on a dirt tract in what they call spectator drags. (Spectators actually go out on the 1/2 mile track with two vehicles going around the track one lap and the winner moves on and can win 500 bucks). Well that did not work well and he hit the barrier after going into the turn to hot. Needless to say he tried to get State Farm insurance to pay for it and they said once he entered that track his auto insurance would not cover any damage.
oh yeah, i used to take rental cars to open track days, the rental agreement states no closed coarse events ,came back w- bogerd windshield, luckly ins coverd it, said i was behind 18 wheeler.always baught most to cover any thing just short of a write off, even then i would try to get car to a side road then call aaa.ps, remember to remove hub caps at track days, they get really thrashed....
 
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