Every summer in Florida and other States, children gladly say goodbye to school and hello to summer camp. For most children, summer time is filled with adventure, sports, friendship, and learning. For some, however, summer unfortunately marks the time in which a child suffers a serious personal injury. Some children even die while at summer camp. Certainly, any time a child is engaged in outdoor activities – there are some inherent risks. Some injuries happen despite the presence of adult supervision and the implementation of reasonable and necessary safety measures. However, other injuries result from the negligence of the summer camp, the lack of supervision, and / or the lack of safet measures. When a child suffers a personal injury at a summer camp, a parent is oftten faced with the stress of dealing with the aftermath of the injury. This can be especially troublesome when the child is at an overnight camp and is hundreds of miles away from the injured child. Is a Sumer Camp liable for every single injury that takes place? The simple answer to this is “No”.
A Summer Camp is not an absolute insurer for the safety and well-being of the child. For instance, let’s say a child is playing basketball at summer camp. He goes up for a lay up and comes down hard on his ankle. After a medical examination and x-ray, it is determined that the ankle is fractured. Under this basic fact pattern, a Summer Camp would not be liable for the injuries because it does not appear that the Summer Camp or its staff did anything wrong.
Here is a different fact patterrn to consider. A group of 7 year olds are playing softball at camp. The counselor is about 100 yards from the playing field and is on her mobile phone texting a friend. One of the children is swinging a bat around near the bench and whacks another player in the head. The player on the bench suffers a serious head injury and is rushed to the local hospital where she is diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. Is the Summer Camp liablel for this injury? The simple answer to this question would be “Yes”. With proper and attentive supervision, there would not be a child swinging a bat near the players on the bench. This incident was wholly preventable and foreseeable for that matter.