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What is the Liability of the Boys Scouts of America for Injuries to a Child?

Campground-300x239Parents enroll children in the Boy Scouts to learn life lessons.  For most scout members, activities are filled with fun and meaningful times. At times, scouts are subject to abuse and neglect by the very adults / scout masters who are supposed to supervise and protect the scouts.

While the Boy Scouts of America is intended to foster the growth and development of your child there is always the possibility that injuries are sustained. Just recently in Nassau County Florida, there was a case wherein a scout master was arrested for assaulting one of the children in the program. After the mother reached out to the BSA, the BSA released a statement denouncing the scout master’s actions and assuring the public that due to their mandatory reporting policy, their children’s safety remained a priority of the organization. So, what happens in the case of your child being injured during a Boy Scouts of America event? The BSA provides comprehensive general liability insurance for cases where a child may be injured. This provides coverage to scouts in any case involving negligent actions of a third party resulting in personal injury or property damage. The BSA also offers coverage for accidents and sickness, offering medical reimbursement I case of death, accident, or sickness within the policy’s amounts (www.scouting.org/health-and-safety).

As mentioned earlier, the BSA has a mandatory reporting policy, but what are the resources offered in order to handle serious cases. On their website, the BSA offers reports for both incidents and near miss situations. The BSA asks that these reports are completed immediately after the occurrence of the incident in order to get as many facts down as possible. Risk management bases these policies off of the facts provided in the initial incident report, so they stress the importance of including evidence and details of what took place. While this may not prevent every scenario, the BSA attempts to expand its safety policies in accordance to the reports they receive.

With the dangers that come with participating in boy scout activities, there is a multitude of policies and coverages offered by the BSA. With that being said, there are still those that would like to see more done on the part of the BSA in order to support victims who have suffered from abuse. The BSA stated that it has offered “unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice” to the victims of these acts. In addition, the BSA has maintained its volunteer screening database since the 1920s.  While there are regulations set in place to prevent your child from being a part of an incident, there is still always a risk.

There are four elements required to bring forth an action for negligence against an entity or individual:

Duty;

Breach of Duty;

Causation; and

Damages.

David Wolf is a personal injury attorney and child safety advocate.  For over 28 years, attorney David Wolf has worked to Give a Voice to Injured Children and Their Families.