By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
In order to limit claims and lawsuits against summer camps, administrators often utilize or attempt to utilize general releases as tools to stop or prevent or discourage parents taking action against the summer camp or its insurance company. One common question that is often presented to me as a Child Injury Lawyer is the following:
Is a liability waiver valid for injuries that take place at a summer camp?
The answer to this question like many legal questions presented to me is as follows: “It depends.” The enforceability of a release waiver varies from State to State. Some States permit and, in turn, enforce liability waivers or releases and other States generally deem liability waivers against public policy. With respect to the States that invalidate or discourage such waivers, the rationale behind such a position is that liability waivers permit reckless conduct. If camp administrators feel that they are immune from liability, this, in turn, may encourage administrators to cut corners, cut staff, and delay the proper and necessary maintenance of the camp and its facilities.
As a Child Safety Advocate, it is my position , liability waiver should not give a summer camp a license or free reign to do what they want to do with respect to the safety and welfare of a child attending the summer camp. Furthermore many such liability waivers are poorly written or drafted and parents are not adequately informed of the risk of certain activities at a summer camp.
If a child is injured at the summer camp and there was a liability waiver or release signed, a parent should still consult a Child Injury Lawyer for advice, guidance, and legal representation when necessary. Research and investigation can be completed by the Child Injury Lawyer to determine if there is a cause of action to pursue even if there is a liability waiver or release signed by a parent. It is important that summer camps follow all State and local laws and regulations. In addition. it is important for summer camps to follow the recommended policies and procedures of any affiliated organizations at the summer camp is a part of. A summer camp should be a safe haven for a child. The summer camp should be a focal point of fun, adventure, and friendship. It is certainly unfortunate when a child is injured in a summer camp especially when the injuries could been prevented with safety precautions, better maintenance of the summer camp, and / or diligent supervision.