What to Do If Your Child Gets Injured at School or Summer Camp
It’s a parent’s worst nightmare to get a phone call about your child getting injured – especially when they were supposed to be somewhere safe, like school, daycare, or camp.
Children are curious and often fearless. Their developing minds are unable to appreciate potential dangers like adults do. As a result, they require a higher standard of care, especially from caretakers and childcare facilities. No child should end up with serious, life-altering injuries because of someone else’s carelessness, recklessness, negligence, or intentional abuse.
Unfortunately, injuries still happen and the risks increase during the summer months when children take on extracurricular activities and go on adventures like summer camp.
In the United States, millions of children go to one of 14,000 summer camps across the country every year, 60% of which are sleep-away overnight camps. According to a study, more than one child gets injured for every 1000 campers on average.
As a parent, you trust school, camp, and daycare staff to look after the safety of the children under their care. You expect these facilities to be safe enough for children who may indulge in the urge to explore without the ability to fully understand the risks of their actions.
The law agrees with you and helps you get accountability. As soon as you get medical help for your child, you should consider your legal options moving forward.
If childcare facilities or providers fail to take the proper standard of care and your child gets injured as a result, you could hold the negligent party responsible under the law.
A personal injury lawsuit could get you compensation to cover your child’s medical treatment and recovery. If your child has lost their life because of someone else’s actions, a wrongful death claim can put responsibility for your loss where it belongs – the camp or its employees.
Camp and Daycare Staff Responsibilities
Summer programs help kids stay active and have fun while broadening their experiences. Activities like camping, climbing, swimming, kayaking, campfire building, horseback riding, playing sports, and volunteering allow kids to grow and branch out under the safety of adult supervision. Overnight camps can strengthen bonds with friends. Athletic training camps can improve sports performance and confidence by leaps and bounds.
But unfamiliar territory comes with additional risks. Camp, daycare, and summer school employees have the responsibility and legal duty to keep the children under their care safe. Children can get seriously injured when camp counselors, daycare workers, or summer school teachers behave in ways that are reckless, careless, negligent, or intentionally abusive.
Child care facilities and children’s programs should carry out background checks before hiring employees. Hopefully, they hire counselors and teachers who already have experience working with children. Some workers may even have advanced degrees in childcare or education.
In addition, child care staff must be appropriately trained. They should know the proper safety protocols for the activities they lead and how to operate and maintain facilities. The camp, daycare, or school should have standards and guidelines in place for employee conduct around children. Improper training can cause serious injuries for the children under their care.
- For example, allergies can pose a great danger to children who get severe reactions to certain foods such as nuts, gluten, or dairy. Child caretakers should know how to handle food safely in order to avoid any mix-ups that can trigger an allergic reaction. They should also be prepared with the right equipment (i.e., antihistamines, epi-pen) to respond immediately to a severe reaction until emergency services can arrive.
- Some activities may require the supervising adults to have specialized knowledge, training, or certifications to ensure the safety of participants – such as hang gliding, zip-lining, bungee jumping, or rock climbing. Kayaking or canoeing instructors should know how to perform CPR and other emergency procedures in case of drowning. Swimming pools and other water activities should have lifeguards on duty.
Negligence is different from simply an accident – it is a failure to live up to a certain standard of care. Most activities involving minors should be supervised by an adult at all times. A summer camp, daycare, or school program can be held liable for the actions of their employees if they didn’t do enough to ensure that your children were safe.
Premises Liability for Camp and Daycare Facilities
When operating a camp, daycare, or summer school program for minors, the owners are legally responsible to keep the grounds and facilities safe for children. This usually requires a higher standard of safety than for adults, simply because children are at greater risk.
Many summertime activities become attractive nuisances for children and minors. Just by being there, they can attract children to them – for example, swimming pools. These areas must be extra safe and secure with children in mind, even when not being used for camp activities.
Camp operators should regularly inspect all premises and equipment for dangers, obvious or hidden. They must then take active steps to fix dangerous conditions before a child gets hurt. All camp attendees should also be warned of the danger and informed on how to avoid it.
Summer Camp Liability Waivers
You may have signed a liability waiver when you enrolled or dropped off your child at summer school, daycare, or camp. Liability waivers stop you from taking legal action if your child gets injured – however, in many cases, they are not enforceable.
Liability waivers may cover accidents but not negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts. Just because you sign a liability doesn’t mean you give up all of your child’s legal rights. The camp still has a legal duty to provide a certain standard of care for your child. If they fail to deliver on this standard, you can hold them responsible under the law.
The only way to know for sure if you have a case is to talk to a personal injury lawyer about the specific facts of your situation.
Was your child injured as a result of someone’s carelessness? Wilshire Law Firm can help. We’re an award-winning group of attorneys who are dedicated to fighting for the rights of you and your child. Call us at (800) 501-3011 or fill out our online form above for a FREE consultation.