Summer camp can occupy a child’s time and allow them to meet new people, make new friends, learn new things, and enjoy the great outdoors. With the rewards come risks, however, and as parents, we must understand the hazards at overnight camps and be confident that our concerns are adequately addressed.
Children may be at risk from the moment they step onto the overnight camp bus until they return home unscathed, and while they return unharmed most of the time, there is an inherent risk that we take each time we send them out into the wilderness.
The child injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC hold negligent summer camps financially accountable for allowing children to get injured, abused, or killed. All confidential or sensitive information you share concerning your legal matter remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Our summer camp accident lawyers have a network of camp and safety experts who can be quickly deployed to investigate and interview people with knowledge of the incident to assist in building a case that is supportive of our theory of liability. Call our legal team today at (888) 424-5757 for a free case review.
Drowning and Water Hazards
Approximately 1000 children per year in the United States drown annually. Another alarming statistic is that over 5000 children suffer personal injuries due to near-drowning-related incidents each year. While drowning accidents can happen to anyone, children are at the greatest risk.
Drowning is the leading cause of death for children between 1 and 4 years old. Many drowning-related incidents can happen because of camp negligence combined with improper training of the staff members.
Drowning-related incidents and dangerous conditions can be avoided through better and more attentive adult supervision during swim time. Furthermore, children of any age should not be left unsupervised near any body of water.
Sexual Abuse at Summer Camps
Unfortunately, child abuse can be a serious problem at summer and overnight camps. It should go without saying that all staff members must be put through extensive background checks to ensure the children will be safe and no unnecessary risk is taken.
But some campers do not ask too many questions, especially if the counselors are primarily volunteers.
Overall Lack of Adult Supervision
Lack of staff member supervision seems to be the key issue when discussing summer camp injuries. It is of utmost importance that the camp has proper childcare facilities and trained staff members who can follow safety protocols.
Supervising counselors should be equipped with safety equipment and personal first aid kits that include the basics, such as bandages, ice packs, and other medical supplies to care for a child’s injury. Staff failing to properly care for or supervise young campers are just two of the red flags that someone could get hurt due to negligence.
Common Summer Camp Child Injuries
Children are more at risk of injury when rounded up in one space where camp staff supervision can supervise the campers! Parents must be warned about the possibility of infectious diseases  to prevent outbreaks of illness at an overnight camp.
Additionally, a sick staff member should not be allowed to work, and the camp needs plenty of medication to fight colds and flu. Finally, camp counselors should be aware of heat illness, which can be very frequent in the summer months, and when there is not enough staff to make sure children are well hydrated.
2. Falls and Collisions
The CDC found falling is responsible for over 50 percent of nonfatal injuries in children. When there is horseback riding, swimming, zip-lining, climbing, and pieces of recreational equipment, there is always a high risk of slips and falls and an injured child at the end of the day.
Children could also get summer camp injuries by playing sports or running outside. These activities usually lead to minor injuries, but they need to be treated even so.
The American Camp Association  said cuts from sharp objects represent about 15 percent of injuries at summer camps. It’s not just the children getting injured – staff members also cut themselves while working in the kitchen or preparing activities.
Campers allowed to use utility knives activities need to be strictly supervised. Counselors should be reminded of practical safety guidelines as well.
4. Rashes and Bites
Summer camps take place outside, and nature comes with its own set of potential dangers and assumed risks. Children having fun outside might be exposed to a plant that irritates the skin or an animal with a dangerous bite.
Make sure to log all injuries so future camp operators know what types of plants and animals could be dangerous at the camp.
5. Fire Hazards
Where there is a camp, there is a campfire. Burns account for many summer injuries and require proper safety guidelines. Camp administration should follow procedures safeguarding young campers that prevent minor burns and more severe consequences like forest fires.
Other possible issues (from minor to severe injuries) include those traditionally found with children during the summertime, such as sunburn, heat stroke, fall accidents, and sprains from running around outside.
Suing for Injuries Despite the Liability Waiver You Signed
All parents with children taking school trips or visiting summer camp are familiar with signing the necessary paperwork stating that they “indemnify and hold harmless”  the school or camp for any injuries suffered by their child while participating in the camp activities.
The paper, known as a release or a liability waiver, must be signed if the child wants to have the camp experience, and these forms are now required everywhere!
Acts of gross negligence or recklessness that cause harm are not protected, which means that the camp can be held liable for a particular case. Neglecting to secure dangerous conditions, such as hazardous trails, could create an avoidable problem where someone is hurt.
Moreover, the liability waiver can be invalid if the content contains fraudulent material that misrepresents the activities or unfair terms. These liability waivers can also be made invalid if the print is illegible or unable to be understood – if in any doubt, make sure you look for proper legal advice.
If your child is injured at a camp, do not assume that since you signed a waiver, you are not able to recover damages. You have legal options!
To establish this claim, the client will have to prove the following:
- The camp had a responsibility to monitor every child
- The camp failed to properly supervise a child
- That child suffered an injury from that failure that could have been foreseeable
A dreadful example of negligent supervision is when a child is seriously injured when swimming at a summer camp. Do not hesitate to contact our personal injury law firm to help you with those prerequisites.
Who Is Responsible If Your Child Is Injured at Camp?
Most camps and even school trips have you complete a liability waiver for your child to participate in the camp and its activities. Most liability waivers include higher-risk activities such as horseback riding and climbing.
However, the camp owner and affiliate may be responsible for any injury not related to a particular activity where there is an assumed risk or the camp failed to keep your child safe, such as not providing a helmet for riding a bike.
Additionally, should your child become ill or injured because of a third party, such as the company responsible for providing the maintenance of the campsite, then that company may be accountable.
We must say that discovering who is responsible for the injury your child may have endured at summer camp can be very complicated. Hence, you must contact a personal injury law firm as soon as possible.
Understanding Premises Liability
Premises liability is a legal concept that describes a property owner’s legal responsibility for any injuries caused by some unsafe conditions due to their negligence. Public and private property owners have a legal obligation to keep their property safe for visitors.
In the context of summer camp, the campsite owner must take proper safety precautions with children in mind to avoid summer camp injuries and even injury death.
Trails should be easy to see with signs and proper markings, unsafe areas should be completely inaccessible, especially to campers, and parents and children should be warned of all potential dangers.
Summer Camp Accident Lawyers Who Hold Facilities Fully Responsible for Your Child’s Injury
The camp facility could violate its legal duty either by:
- Ignoring problems with the physical facilities, or
- Being negligent with the supervision
These issues could lead to an injury where the camp may be responsible for damages. To establish this liability, you should look for formal legal advice.
These damages usually include compensation for medical bills, other economic losses, emotional distress, and non-economic losses. In some cases, the zone of danger rule may expand. If that happens, parents can also recover money for their emotional distress.
Was your child harmed at a summer camp? You have the right to hold the camp accountable. The summer camp attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, are a trusted personal injury law firm with knowledge and experience advocating for those who have been hurt due to other people’s negligence.
Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 to set up a free consultation for more information about your rights and how we would proceed with your case. We conduct our case reviews with strict confidentiality, and we will never charge for our services unless we win your case and collect damages on your behalf.