Brian White | June 8, 2018 | Summer Safety
A summer camp can be a great way to keep your child active and safe this summer, but it’s important to understand the risks that some summer camp activities may pose. If you are sending your child to a summer camp, be sure to follow a few best practices to help him or her avoid injuries. When a child does suffer injuries, it’s vital to know what to do and how to determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit to cover your child’s damages.
Potential Injuries at Summer Camp
Many types of summer camps are available all over the country. You may find one that requires sending your child to stay for an extended time over the summer, or you can opt for a daytime-only camp, so your child has supervision while you are at work.
Some camps may offer themes like adventure, exploration, or science, and these camps generally focus their activities around those themes. If you are sending your child to a camp that focuses heavily on hiking, swimming, kayaking, or rock climbing, it’s essential to carefully prepare him or her.
Make sure you provide your child with any required materials and supplies. If your child is missing anything, it could cause him or her to miss out on fun activities with the rest of the camp. You should also make sure your child has a few basic emergency items in his or her camp supplies. This should include:
- An emergency contact card with your phone numbers.
- A backup number for another trusted relative in case camp personnel can’t get in touch with you.
- Make sure you also provide the camp with any information regarding your child’s medical conditions, like allergies or required prescriptions.
Some camps will be more dangerous than others. For example, a sports camp is more likely to lead to injuries than band camp, so make sure your child can handle the type of activities he or she will do. Some potentially hazardous summer camp activities include swimming, hiking, rock climbing, contact sports, boating, and wilderness navigation.
Liability for Summer Camp Injuries
Almost every summer camp will require parents to sign some type of waiver or liability release form, and it’s essential to understand what such a form entails. It’s vital to know the difference between an injury that results from an assumed risk and one that results from negligence.
Based on what the summer camp entails, the liability release form for parents will typically require the parents to agree to the claimed level of risk and promise not to take legal action against the camp in the event of an injury. “Assumed risk” is the concept of agreeing to participate in a potentially dangerous activity despite the known risk.
While liability release forms may make it seem like parents of an injured child have no legal recourse after an injury, it’s important to remember that these forms do not release the summer camp from liability for negligence.
If a camp staff member acted negligently or inappropriately, a liability release form would not shield the staff member from legal action. Additionally, if the camp organization was negligent in any way that results in an injury to a camper, the parents may file a lawsuit against the camp as well.
If your child sustains any type of injury at summer camp, do not assume that the waiver you signed during registration means you cannot take legal action. Save copies of all documentation related to your child’s injury, including incident reports from the camp, medical reports, and correspondence with the camp, insurers, and medical providers.
If you’re concerned about a waiver interfering with your legal action, reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer in Houston for guidance.