Your PTO or Booster Club may operate within the school’s provisions, but chances are they aren’t required to take on your liability. Unfortunately, the close relationship to your school creates a false sense of security; a common misconception is that school’s insurance protects Parent Teacher Organizations. This misunderstanding could leave your organization in a dangerous position.
Can my PTO or Booster Club be sued?
Yes! Any nonprofit is in danger of having legal action taken against them. Your PTO or Booster Club operates separately from your school and therefore can be held liable on its own.
Who might be suing a nonprofit?
It’s difficult to imagine that anyone would want to sue educational organizations. You may ask, “our work is selfless and voluntary, who would want to sue us?” However, if you’re in a PTO or Booster Club, you likely have children of your own. If your child hurts, you feel the need to protect them. Sometimes parents feel the need to place fault or they simply can’t afford the medical bills and believe your group should pay the fees. When this happens, they may demand that your organization cover the bills.
Protect Your Organization
Most groups agree that they’d like to help pay for medical expenses, but if they’re unprepared they may not have the funds to do so. General Liability Insurance can help. With our General Liability policies, if there is an injury at one of your sponsored events, we provide medical payments for the injured party of up to $5,000 or more, depending on your policy. If this does not deter a lawsuit and your educational organization is being sued for bodily injury or property damage, we will pay up to $1 or $2 million in a lawsuit for covered losses.
Aside from injury and property damage, other lawsuits could involve decisions your directors or officers have made. Or even the misuse of information.
Protect Your Officers
When your directors or officers make a decision they carry the weight. Nobody’s perfect, and mistakes or miscommunication may occur. Occasionally their choice is deemed a “wrongful act” and a lawsuit can be brought against your organization. You may not be able to avoid every misstep, but you can prepare for fall out. Always be sure your communication is clear. Write down and agree upon dates, times, payments, etc. early on. Keep paperwork filed and easily accessible by authorized persons. However, even the most thorough practices are no guarantee. You can protect your directors and officers with Directors and Officers Liability Insurance. If someone brings a lawsuit against your organization, liability insurance will step in; you can avoid dedicating all your time and resources and navigate a legal dispute in the most efficient manner possible. This will help cut down on recovery time afterward.
PTO or Booster Club lawsuits are not uncommon. While some can be avoided, others can not. Being prepared with insurance doesn’t make lawsuits more or less likely to occur, but it does make your groups’ lives much easier if one is brought against you.