Summer is a time to make memories, get outdoors as much as you can, and enjoy your free time. This is especially true for children, who often get to start asserting their independence by attending summer camps and other fun activities. Most of the time, summer camp ends with a tired kid with tons of new memories who can’t wait to go back the next year. Sometimes, summer camp ends with injuries that mar a child’s experience and an adult’s trust in the camp.
If your child has been injured at summer camp, you may wonder what your options are. Let’s talk—call Reeves & Mestayer at 228-374-5151 to schedule a consultation now.
Check Your Paperwork
First, you’ll want to take a look at the paperwork you signed before you sent your child to camp. There’s likely some sort of liability waiver though. Go through the waiver in detail to learn more about what you are and are not allowed to do after an injury. However, remember that there are limitations to every contract. The contract may make it sound like you have no rights after an injury, but that generally isn’t true. A contract may prevent you from suing if your child’s injury happened in the normal course of planned activities. However, it cannot make up for a counselor’s or staff member’s negligence.
Understand the Risks of Summer Camp
Generally, liability waivers simply keep you from suing if your child is injured in a way that is consistent with the rules of the camp. For example, if your child is riding a horse at camp and breaks a leg, you may not be able to sue if the horse was gentle and appropriate for your child’s skill level. However, you might be able to sue if the counselor chose a horse intended for a much larger and more skilled rider, and then failed to watch your child and keep them safe.
Another example: think about a camp where kids spend a lot of the day outside in the heat. If your child develops heat sickness because they did not bring a hat and refused to drink enough water, it’s unlikely that you can hold the camp accountable for that. However, you may be able to hold the camp accountable if counselors refused your child water or didn’t pay attention when your child began showing signs of heatstroke.
Basically, know the risks of every activity your child will participate in at camp. Injuries likely to arise from those activities may not allow you to sue the camp.
If you believe a counselor or other staff member was negligent in their handling of your child, you may have a case. However, your case would be against the camp itself, not the individual counselor or staff member. Businesses carry business insurance to protect against cases like these, and an employee cannot usually be held liable for work done in the normal course of their employment.
You will, however, need to prove that the camp erred in its handling of your child’s injury. In addition to the examples above, consider a child who was stung by bees at camp. The child developed a severe allergic reaction that no one expected, because they had never been stung before.
Despite the child telling three separate counselors that they could not breathe and that they were in pain, no one called 911 for several minutes because they believed the child was being dramatic. In this case, you could argue that the camp counselors violated their obligation to your child by ignoring their pleas for help and clear signs of a serious allergic reaction.
No matter what the nature of your child’s injury is, it’s highly recommended that you connect with a personal injury attorney to discuss your options. We can look at the details of your claim and help you determine the next best step.
Contact Reeves & Mestayer for Help with Your Injury Claim
The sooner you contact an attorney after your child’s injury, the sooner we can start making a plan that meets your family’s needs. To take the first step and set up a consultation, reach out to Reeves & Mestayer online or give us a call at 228-374-5151. We look forward to assisting you through this difficult time.