Summer camps provide numerous benefits both for children and their parents. With three long months off of school, it’s important that children spend time in environments which are enriching mentally, emotionally, physically, and socially. These camps allow children to meet and interact with other kids, play fun games, and learn new things. However, unexpected summer camp injuries do happen. It’s important for everyone involved with these camps to be responsible and to always keep child safety in mind.
While there are some inherent dangers involved with time spent in nature, most of these are preventable if the right safety rules are followed. Unfortunately, it’s not unheard of for summer camp staff members to act negligently, resulting in a child injury. Tragically, there have even been cases of predatory staff at summer camps who have abused children physically and sexually. If your child has been abused or suffered a serious injury while a guest of a summer camp, you could potentially hold the summer camp liable for damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
Risks Of Child Summer Camps
There are a variety of specific dangers which could lead to child summer camp injuries.
If your child is taking a bus to and from summer camp, there is always the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. While this risk is present any time you’re in a motor vehicle, accidents involving buses can cause multiple serious injuries to children on board. It’s important for summer camps to properly screen their bus drivers to make sure they can be trusted to transport large groups of children. If a bus driver causes an accident through negligence, he or she may be liable for any injuries that occur.
Grilling and gathering around campfires is one of the best parts of summer camp, but it’s important to stay safe. Staff members need to be properly trained in how to build, maintain, and put out camp fires safely. There also needs to be plenty of adult supervision by trained staff members who can make sure children don’t burn themselves. Children should also be educated on the principles of fire safety and how to prevent forest fires.
Drowning & Water Accidents
Lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water provide countless opportunities for fun in the sun. Campers may go swimming, kayaking, canoeing, boating, or enjoy a variety of water sports. Anytime children are in the water, supervision is key. There needs to be enough staff members to watch over all the children, and they need to be trained in how to respond to drowning emergencies.
If children are being brought out on a boat, the operator needs to be well-trained and attentive. There should be separate staff members on board who are responsible for supervising the kids. If a boating accident occurs due to operator negligence, the camp could face liability for injuries.
Unfortunately, any activity which involves working with children has the risk of attracting potential predators. There have been reports nationwide of children being sexually abused at summer camp by counselors, staff members, volunteers, older children, and intruders. These camps are responsible for completing thorough background checks for anyone who’s going to work at the camp. There’s no excuse for allowing someone with a history of sexual abuse to be around children.
Proper supervision can also help reduce the risk of child sexual abuse. There are very few reasons for a staff member to ever be one-on-one with a child, so focusing on group activities can help reduce this risk as well.
Summer camp management should also make sure that proper security measures are in place to prevent trespassers and intruders from entering camp sites.
If you believe your child has been sexually abused at summer camp, you should file a report with the police and consider speaking with an experienced sexual assault lawyer about your legal options.
When Is A Summer Camp Liable For Child Injuries?
Summer camps may be held liable if their negligence directly caused your child’s injury. Negligence basically means a failure to meet a duty of care. When you send your child away to camp, you expect that the camp is well-run, with an adequate number of properly trained staff members and proper safety measures. You’re trusting this camp with the well-being of your child, and when a summer camp violates this trust by endangering children, they need to be held responsible.
An injury to a child can cause deep damage, both physically and emotionally. These children may have to undergo extensive medical care, and the bills can add up quickly. They also will suffer physical pain, and serious injuries are often mentally traumatizing for children. If your family is in this situation, you deserve to be compensated for how this injury has disrupted your life.
In a successful personal injury claim, your family could recover compensation for the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages if you had to take time off to care for your child
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
If you’re not sure if you have a case, our experienced New York personal injury lawyers would be glad to hear your story in a free consultation. We can help you determine the best course of action for your family, and we will only ask for payment if and when we secure compensation for you.