Summer camp. It’s a great adventure for the kids, their chance to learn about and enjoy the outdoors in the summertime. Parents appreciate summer camp too – it gives them their own opportunity to enjoy the summer with some time away from the kids.

But how can you be sure that the camp you’ve chosen is safe? What are your child’s rights at a summer camp? And what is your recourse if your child is injured at a camp? How can a South Florida personal injury law firm help?

Of course, you should expect that your child will suffer some minor scrapes and minor insect bites at a summer camp, and that’s part of the adventure.

But if your child suffers a serious injury because the camp or its personnel were negligent, parents may be able to take legal action.

WHAT SHOULD GO WITH YOUR CHILD TO SUMMER CAMP?

Still, if your child is allergic to bee stings or to certain plants, be sure that you tell the camp’s staff and that you pack your child’s allergy medications.

Especially in Florida, poison ivy and poison oak are common. And if you live in this state, you don’t have to be told about the mosquitoes. You might want to send some mosquito repellant to camp with your child.

WHAT SHOULD PARENTS DO WHEN CHOOSING A SUMMER CAMP?

Here are some other important suggestions for parents regarding summer camps:

1. Verify the camp’s accreditation. All camps must be licensed, but not every camp is accredited. An unaccredited camp may operate legally, but if your child is injured, an unaccredited camp may not have the resources to compensate you.

2. Ask about the camp’s insurance. Make sure the camp has insurance. Find out precisely what is covered and for how much.

3. Consider purchasing your own additional coverage. Ask your insurance agent if your child is covered for injuries at a camp under any of your existing policies. If not, ask about the “camp insurance” that many companies now offer.

WHAT INJURIES CAN HAPPEN TO KIDS AT SUMMER CAMP?

As you might imagine, the most common injuries at summer camps happen during outdoor recreational activities. Those injuries may include:

1. Water-related injuries: Camp staff must be trained in first aid and CPR. When appropriate, safety gear – such as life jackets – must be provided.

2. Bone fractures (broken bones): Kids break their bones playing sports, climbing trees, or just “goofing off” and engaging in horseplay. An injury attorney can review the details of such an injury to determine if legal action is appropriate.

3. Concussions: A concussion is a brain injury caused by a blow to the head. Brain injuries can be mild and temporary or catastrophic and permanent. If your child sustains a brain injury at summer camp, let an injury lawyer review the details of the incident.

4. Burn injuries: Campfires are fun, but every summer, children are burned by campfires, coals, and cooking equipment at summer camps.

CAN A CAMP BE SUED IF YOUR CHILD IS INJURED?

Any failure of a summer camp to supervise children properly, to provide appropriate safety gear, or to provide fully-trained personnel may be grounds for legal action if the result is an injury to your child.

However, if your child is injured at a camp in Florida, you must speak at once with an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury attorney who can review the facts and explain where you stand legally.

Quite frankly, the law is complicated when it comes to summer camps and liability. That’s why you must have an injury attorney’s advice immediately if your child is injured at a summer camp.

WHAT LEGAL COMPLICATIONS CAN ARISE IN THESE CASES?

When parents register a child for summer camp, they may be asked to sign a waiver that protects the camp from legal action if the child is injured while participating in camp activities.

Generally speaking, the law presumes that if you engage in sports or other physical activities, or if you allow your child to participate, you are “assuming” the risk that is naturally inherent in the activity.

For example, if your child plays soccer at summer camp, you are assuming the risk that your child may be injured, and the camp may not be accountable if your child is injured playing soccer because injuries are, in fact, a part of the game.

WHAT’S THE KEY LEGAL ISSUE IF A CHILD IS INJURED AT SUMMER CAMP?

Legally, the key question is negligence. If a child is injured because of a camp’s lack of safety equipment or because of inappropriate supervision, for example, parents may be able to sue the camp for negligence.

Every case of an injury at a summer camp must be examined individually to determine exactly what the parents agreed to and assumed and to determine if negligence by the camp’s staff was a factor leading to the injury.

Even if you signed a waiver that says the camp isn’t liable if something happens to your child, that waiver is not necessarily the final legal word.

Especially if the camp’s negligence was excessive or egregious, and if the injuries sustained were serious, you are likely to be standing on solid legal ground if you choose to file a lawsuit and seek damages.

IF YOUR INJURY LAWSUIT PREVAILS, WHAT IS YOUR FAMILY ENTITLED TO?

When a personal injury lawsuit prevails in Florida, the plaintiff may be compensated for all injury-related medical expenses including ER costs, surgeries, follow-up visits, prescriptions, and more.

If long-term medical care will continue to be needed in the future, a good personal injury lawyer will fight on a family’s behalf for the maximum available compensation.

If your child is injured at a summer camp, arrange at once to consult a skilled personal injury attorney.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING PARENTS CAN DO REGARDING SUMMER CAMP?

Here’s the smartest thing parents can do about summer camps: research. Scores of well-managed and professionally-operated summer camps are available to families in Florida.

Look into a camp before you send your child there. And don’t send your child to any summer camp unless you are absolutely and completely comfortable with every detail of the arrangement.