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The $150,000 Soccer Ball

by ARLnow.com July 14, 2010 at 1:09 pm 2,115 17 Comments

Q: What’s round, inflated and costing an insurance company $150,000?

A: The soccer ball that hit a sprinkler in a Washington-Lee High School hallway and ruined the brand new gym.

The Washington Examiner has the story of how the insurance company is trying to recover damages from the parents of the kid who kicked the ball.

  • Anthony

    Isn’t that what insurance is for? Why do insurance companies always want to recover what they pay out? This is insane.

  • Jen
  • dpan

    Does this insurance company have much of a case? I mean… it was apparently in the gym, you know, where kids will be instructed to play soccer. If it was in the teacher’s lounge, well, that would be another story. Probably a better one, actually.

  • Skeptical

    The Examiner story states it was in the hallway, where kids are not supposed to be kicking soccer balls.

    I would put responsibility 50-50 between whoever signed off on a sprinkler array without protective cages in a school guaranteed to contain a certain percentage of feckless kids, and the parents of the feckless kid. Does anyone remember when you got in hot water for chewing gum in class? (Showing my age here, I guess…)

  • dpan

    Ah, I was basing my comment off of the ARLNOW post rather than sleuthing out the source. Hallway indeed. tsk, tsk, junior. Maybe the two kids can work it off, setting the stage for a hilarious coming of age buddy comedy.

    • Skeptical

      Harold And Kumar Wash Dishes?

      • dpan

        More like Better Off Dead, but instead of a paper boy there’s an insurance adjuster yelling “I want my One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars! I want my One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars!”

        • rob


    • I’ve made note of the hallway location to avoid further headscratching.

  • Darwin

    That’s why his father wears the shirt that says “Daddy drinks because you’re the worst little boy in the whole world”

  • Let’s Be Free

    Two questions begged here.

    1.) Why has APS entered into an insurance contract that allows an insurance company to sue kids for being kids?

    2.) Why, given its size and scope, doesn’t APS self insure?

    • Skeptical

      “Suing kids for being kids” is a little precious. I joked about dating myself, but I’m not *that* old, and I can’t remember any point during my progress through the Arlington school system at which kicking a ball around the hallways would have been treated as benign hijinks. At the very least, someone of high school age shouldn’t be receiving the message, “Your dumb horseplay ran up a six-figure bill but don’t worry, other people will take care of it.” That’s how we get BP executives.

      • Let’s Be Free

        Whoa Skeptical, get off of my lawn. Or else!

        • Skeptical

          That’s not me, that’s the UPS guy.

          • Let’s Be Free

            Nice comback!

  • rob

    I’m guessing the insurance company has an uphill battle here

    (1) are the parents vicariously liable for the kids?
    (2) even if it was negligent of the kids to kick the ball, was destroying the gym floor a foreseable result of that negligence? Presumably the rule about not kicking balls in the hallway is about protecting other students and teachers from personal injury, and not about protecting the flooring in adjacent rooms.
    (3) was the school itself contributorily negligent for (a) allowing the kids to kick the ball in the hallway or (b) not covering the sprinkler-head with a protective grate when it could possibly foresee that kids would kick balls in the hallway?

  • Texas Wahoo

    It should be noted that the insurance company is trying to recover from the insurance provider of the kid’s family. The question is which insurance company will have to pay.


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