Summer is typically a great time for a child. School is out and the focus is on fun, sports, and activities. Unfortunately for some children, summer marks a point in time in which a child suffers a serious personal injury in the form of heat exposure, fractures, and other injuries. If a child is injured a a summer camp, there are many issues and challenges to pursue a case or claim against the summer camp. It should be noted that a summer camp is not liable or responsible for every since incident or injury.
Even though the risks are well known or should be well known to all adults, some how children including but not limited to toddlers drown every year at private pools, community pools, day care centers, and water parks. Even one child, who drowns as a result of a preventable incident, is one child too many. There are many reasons out there for this ongoing problem during the summer months and other times of the year. It is important to spot the problems and put preventative measures in place to prevent any further drowning incidents.
Are Florida summer camps required to carry liability insurance? The simple answer to this question is “No”. Thousands if not millions of children attend summer camp every year. In most instances, the children enjoy the activity center supervised in a safe environment. Unfortunately for some children, the summer is not so enjoyable because they suffer serious personal injuries while attending a Florida summer camp. Some injuries take place due to unforeseeable circumstances while others take place due to the negligence or carelessness of the summer camp, its staff, or third parties. One would think that a summer camp would be required to carry liability insurance; however there is no specific law in the State of Florida that requires a summer camp to carry such liability insurance. Many summer camps are responsible and have safety standards. Many camps are also financially responsible and carry liability insurance in case there is an accident or injury that takes place at a Florida summer camp.
Other Florida summer camps choose not to have the liability insurance in place. If a child is injured as a result of incident out of Florida summer camp, there are often many complex issues for a parent to deal with. Because of this, it is often helpful to have a Florida Child Injury Lawyer represent the injured child. If a summer camp chooses not to have liability insurance, a parent or guardian can still pursue a claim or case on behalf the injured child. In evaluating the case, a Florida Child Injury Lawyer will determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the injury and the practicality of moving forward if the facility or summercamp does not have liability insurance. It can often be a challenge from a practical standpoint to pursue a case against a small summer camp that chooses not to have liability insurance due to collectibility issues. Summer camps and their staff members should use their best efforts to timely and consistently supervise the children and provide a safe play environment for the children.
The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Playground Injuries, Water Park Injuries, Day Care Center Injurie, School Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.
In Florida and other States, children are enrolled and participate in summer camp activities. Most children enjoy the activities and have a great experience at summer camp. Others unfortunately suffer serious personal injuries while enrolled in a Florida summer camp. Prior to the beginning of camp, many summer camps require or request that the parents or guardians sign a Release of liability for the child enrolled in the summer camp.
When there is a personal injury at a summer camp with a Release in place, the parents or guardians believe that there is no claim or case to pursue due to the signing of the Release. It should be noted that Releases of this nature have been challenged in Florida courts. Many Judges and Courts have stricken these Releases since they are against the public policy. Generally, a summer camp has a duty to provide reasonably safe facilities, fields, and supervision. Stated differently, the summer camp should not act negligently or recklessly while the summer camp is supervising or caring for the child. Since the issues surrounding an injury and liability release can be complicated, it is often helpful for the parent / guardian to seek legal advice and representation for the injured child. A Florida Child Injury Lawyer can help review the Release and challenge the enforcement and applicability of the Release to the incident that caused or led to the personal injuries of the child.
The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on School Injuries, Day Care Center Injures, Automobile Accidents, Medical Bills / Medical Treatment, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury. Another helpful book / resource for parents is the book – Florida Day Care Center Injuries – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – Building Blocks of Knowledge for Parents – has chapters on Indoor Facilities, Playgrounds, Incident Reports, Record Keeping, and other topics. You can get this book for free at Florida Day Care Center Injuries.
In Florida, there are swimming pools in virtually every neighborhood. Each swimming pool is a danger zone to small children and those children who are not strong swimmers. Parents, teachers, summer camp counselors, babysitters, day care providers, and other child care providers should recognize that children have poor safety awareness and judgment especially when it comes to swimming pools, lakes, ponds, and other waterways. Swimming pools are “attractive nuisances” that intrigue children and make them explore further even though they are told not to and even though there may be a lack of parental or adult supervision. In a matter of a few seconds, a child can suffer serious personal injuries and even a tragic death as a result of a drowning incident.
In Orange County, Florida, the Orlando Sentinel recently reported that a child was transported to a hospital after being retrieved from a swimming pool. The incident took place in the Pine Hills area of Orange County. Fire Rescue was dispatched to the area and CPR was performed. The child was later taken to and treated at Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital. See Small Child Rushed to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital After Being Pulled from Swimming Pool.
A personal injury to a child from a drowning incident is one too many especially if the drowning incident could have been prevented. Make sure to fence and appropriate secure all swimming pool areas.
Florida lawmakers are supporting a bill that would address the validity of waiver of liability forms for children engaged in recreational, sports, and other activities. An important amendment to the bill would still allow a parent to file a lawsuit against the business if there was negligence on the part of the business. It appears that the bill as proposed would only apply to the inherent dangers of the activity rather than injuries suffered as a result of poor supervision, inadequate maintenance, or other negligence. You can read more about this bill at Lawmakers Considering Bill Regarding Liability Waivers for Children.
In New Port Richey, Florida, a terrible playground incident was recently reported involving a 3 year old girl. The incident took place at the Footprints Pre-School and Child Care Center. A teacher found the 3 year old girl unconscious with a tetherball rope wrapped tightly around the little girl’s neck. I question why a tetherball set or rope was in place at a pre-school. The typical tetherball playset can be extremely dangerous to small children. This is especially true when the children are not properly supervised and use the equipment in a dangerous manner. It would be interesting to know what particular equipment was in place at the pre-school. In addition, what rules or protocols were in place at the day care center for sports equipment? What were the supervision procedures for playground activities?
A spokesman with the Department of Children and Families stated that DCF is investigating the incident to find out what happened and how a tetherball rope without a ball became wrapped around the child’s neck. You can read more about this incident at Day Care Center Child Found With Rope Around Neck.