Football & the Law

A former University of Arkansas Razorback football player is suing Lloyd’s of London insurance company for failing to pay an insurance claim. Former running back, Rawleigh Williams III, is suing the London-based firm claiming that it purposely did not file an injury claim in time for him to receive benefits.

William’s injury happened during a 2015 football game with Auburn University. During a play, Williams was tackled illegally by the face mask; he was severely injured when discs between two vertebrae were dislocated. He was carted off of the field, went through many months of physical therapy and had to wear a neck brace for seven months.

His family, this week, filed the lawsuit that claims “Lloyd’s intentionally delayed processing their policy to wait for Williams to sustain another neck injury so as to be able to drop him from their coverage.”

In spite of the injury, Williams returned to the team for the 2016 season, rushing for more than 1000 yards that year, and scoring 12 times. Then, in 2017, university officials apparently advised him to obtain a permanent disability policy, which is common for high-performance players.

During an Arkansas spring practice, Williams was injured again, and announced that he was retiring from football. On the same day, Lloyd’s agent, Justin Boeving, left a voice message with the player’s family affirming his coverage. “We have got coverage and everything in force, so no issues are on that. I’m just calling to make sure he’s alright,” Boeving’s message said.

It has been more than a year now since Williams sustained his career-ending injury. Since then he has worked as a student assistant for the Razorbacks, and he’s on track to get his degree in finance. The family is seeking payment of the $1-million policy and punitive damages of $300-million.

What do you think – does Williams have a case against the insurance company?

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