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June 20th, 2017

My child was injured in an accident at his summer camp. What are his legal rights?

Children who suffer serious injuries at camp often have legal rights to be compensated for their injuries. There must be sufficient evidence that the camp was legally responsible for the incident. In other words, the only way to present a valid claim is to be able to show that the camp was negligent in some manner and as a result, the accident occurred.

Related: My child was sexually assaulted at a summer camp by a counselor. What are my child’s legal rights?

Here’s an example to demonstrate negligence of a camp for causing a child’s injury. A 7 year old child attending a summer camp is seriously injured when he falls while playing basketball. Off the bat, this doesn’t sound like the camp was negligent. However, let’s consider how the accident happened. The 7 year old, who had never played basketball in a competitive setting, was playing basketball with 13 year old kids, many of whom were on the middle school basketball team. The 7 year old was knocked to the ground by a much older, larger child. He fractured his jaw and suffered a major head injury as a result. The camp failed to follow one of the basic safety principles of summer camp–keeping kids separated based on age. As a result, the camp would likely be held liable. The 7 year old should have been playing with other similarly aged children.

Let’s change a fact to challenge liability a bit. Had the fall occurred while playing with other 7 year old kids, liability is a little harder to show. Absent some defective or dangerous condition on the basketball court, it’s not likely the camp would be liable. It’s perfectly normal for a child to fall while playing sports.

Proving negligence requires a thorough investigation. Contact our child injury lawyers for a free case review.

Rights to Compensation

If it’s determined that the camp is liable for your child’s injury, your child may be able to receive monetary compensation for the injuries, including the physical pain and any mental or emotional trauma. In very serious injury cases, claims may be made for future medical treatment and future pain and suffering. For example, if a child sustains an injury that results in a significant, visible scar, there may be an award for future pain and suffering. Learn more about legal rights of children injured at summer camps.

Parents in child injury situations often ask whether a signed waiver of liability will affect their child’s legal rights. In most instances, the answer is no. Children are not legally able to sign away their rights until they reach adulthood. This is true even if they sign a waiver of liability. When a parent signs a waiver for their child, courts often rule in the child’s favor and find that a parent cannot waive their child’s rights for them. This is the law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Learn more about waivers of liability in child injury cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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