During the summer and other times of the year, camps, schools, daycare centers, and other organizations transport children on field trips. Some field trips are close by like a local pool for waterpark. Other field trips may be as far as Disney World, Busch Gardens, or Universal Studios. While transporting and supervising children on field trips, it is important that the child care providers follow policies procedures, rules and regulations. It is also important that child care providers use their common sense for the health, safety, and welfare of the children during field trip related activities.
Does this mean that a day care center school or other child care provider is always liable when a child is injured on a field trip? The answer this question is that it depends on the facts and circumstances. Like other types of personal injury cases, there can be liability associated with injuries on a field trip if the following four elements can be established:
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation, and
Let’s explore an example. A school takes children to a local water park. While at the local water park a child is assaulted by other children. For the 30 minutes prior to the assault, the child was threatened by other children in front of child care providers. No action was taken to separate the children and the victim suffered serious personal injuries. Assuming that these facts can be proved by a preponderance of the evidence, there may be a case that can be pursued on behalf of the victim. There is a duty to provide reasonable supervision while on the field trip. This duty was breached because no action was taken to separate the children or discipline the bullying children and as a result of this – a child was injured. The example provided is by no means a clear-cut case or one that would be one with every attempt. But it does cover some of the basic elements so that a case may be pursued on behalf of the injured child and his parents.
Here is another case example. A group of children from a summer camp take a field trip to theme park. While in the parking lot, a child wanders away from the group and is missing for 30 minutes. While wandering around in the parking lot, the 5 year old is hit by a vehicle. Again, back to the four basic elements. There was a duty to supervise the child. The duty was breached when the child was able to wander away. This in turn put the child in harm’s way. The child was hit by a vehicle and suffered a fractured arm. The incident could have been prevented. It should be pointed out that there may also be a case or claim against the driver of the vehicle if there was fault which could be established against the driver.
The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, Theme Park and Amusement Park Injuries, Swimming and Water Park Related Injuries, and other topics. You can get the book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.