Swimming Pool Accidents
Summer camps often involve swimming. Although swimming pools can provide great fun, and respite from the hot sun, they can also pose dangers. Minor injuries from pool chemical reactions and slips on wet surfaces are common, but campers can also suffer more serious injuries, such as electrocution from improperly wired pool lights, and drowning. Contact a Boston Personal Injury Lawyer Today.
If your child is injured in a pool-related accident while at summer camp, what do you do?
To successfully sue for damages, you must prove a breach of duty, and that damages occurred due to that breach. What is a breach of duty? Camp owners have a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect campers from harm. If the camp owner failed to take reasonable care, he or she may be found liable for negligence. For example, if a camp owner neglects to put a fence around the perimeter of the pool and an unsupervised camper sneaks in and drowns, the owner will likely be held responsible.
Who is Responsible for Summer Camp Injuries?
In most cases, the camp itself is responsible for keeping your children out of harm’s way. In order to uphold this duty, camps are required to take proper precautions and exercise good judgment, both before the camp begins and while it is underway.
In addition to inspecting grounds and facilities to ensure that they are free of hazards, camps typically have to perform background checks on staff. If a camp fails to perform this type of background check and a staff member harms a child, the camp will likely be found negligent.
There are certain injuries for which a camp is not responsible, however. For example, inherently-risky activities, such as football camp, may require that you sign a waiver for injuries that may occur during play. Basically, you assume reasonable risk. However, injuries that fall outside the parameters of reasonable risk, such as heat stroke due to the lack of water breaks on a 100 degree day, is another story altogether.
The bottom line is, kids get injured at camp. It’s the nature and severity of those injuries that determines whether or not a lawsuit is in order.
Are Liability Waivers Enforceable by Law?
The short answer is yes. Camp waivers are generally two-part forms; the ‘assumption of risk’ part and the ‘release of liability’ part. The assumption of risk section basically says you will not sue the camp for a risk that you acknowledged at the time of signing. For example, if your child is in hiking camp and he falls while hiking and breaks his leg, you can’t sue. If, however, the instructor accidentally shoots your child in the eye with an unauthorized bb gun, you have some options. You didn’t assume the risk of shooting injuries during hiking camp, therefore, the ‘assumption of risk’ is not applicable.
The release of liability, on the other hand, basically absolves the camp from all injuries suffered while on the grounds. While a waiver for negligence is usually enforceable, it should include an exception for malicious and intentional acts. Without this, the waiver is most likely unenforceable.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Premier Personal Injury Law Firm
If your child has been injured at summer camp, or during another summer activity, the skilled personal injury team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims for more than 50 years. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.