Summer camps are great for children to get outside and socialize with other kids when school is out (plus it gets them out of your hair for a few hours, right?). While Monmouth County and Ocean County camps are intended to give your children something active and productive to do, some can pose injury risks. Though, the extent of potential injuries can vary greatly depending on the type of camp your child attends. But many are left wondering, who's responsible for NJ summer camp injuries?
Injury Risks at Camp
Many camps are full of a large number of children engaged in physical activity and outdoor adventures. As a result, physical injuries happen quite often. Most injuries are usually minor cuts, sprains or bruises, but occasionally, children can become victim to more serious injuries such as broken bones from a slip and fall, concussions from a sports injury or horseback riding accident, or even swimming pool injuries like drowning or chemical burns. These situations can be scary for the child and parents who are left wondering, who is responsible for the injuries.
New Jersey Personal Injury Law (2A:14-2)
The New Jersey statute of limitations on personal injury cases can be found at New Jersey Code section 2A:14-2. New Jersey's system for injury compensation is structured under tort law, which attempts to rectify a “civil wrong” that caused losses or suffering to another individual. In New Jersey, the general statute of limitations (N.J.S.A. 2A:14) for personal injury cases gives an injured person two years from the date of the injury to go to court and file a lawsuit against those responsible for the injury. There are, however, other circumstances which can extend or shorten the time to file a claim. That is why it is important to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Camp Premises Liability
The operators of a summer camp generally have a responsibility for keeping your children safe under the premises liability law. If a camp fails to review their activities and facilities for potential injury risks and a child gets hurt, the parent could sue the camp for negligence. Camp operator have a duty of care to do the following:
• Regularly inspect all activities and facilities (including swimming pools) for hazards such as slip and falls.
• Ensure properly trained supervision with adequate ratio of camper to staff to prevent fights among children
• Maintain all equipment in working order to prevent injuries that occur as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on their property
• Clean and disinfect common areas to prevent children from contracting infections and diseases.
• Provide adequate shade and encourage regular hydration. East Coast summers are hot and humid and the mid-day sun can cause heat stroke in children who are more susceptible to extreme heats than adults.
• Screen counselors prior to hiring and monitor interactions between staff and campers to prevent child sex abuse. This is every parent's nightmare, but the sad truth is that it can happen. If a camp fails to do background checks, the organization could be liable for letting a child molester have contact with a large group of children.
If you sign your children up for a risky activity such as horseback riding or a football camp, you may be required to sign a waiver absolving the camp for injuries that could occur during the sport or activity. Despite signing a release, it's important to realize that waivers usually only protect the owner of a camp or team for injuries due to ordinary negligence. On the other hand, acts of gross negligence or recklessness, which cause harm or injuries, are not protected and can create liability for the camp owner. Waivers could also be considered invalid if the content contains fraudulent information, misrepresents the activities, or even if the print is illegible or hard to understand.
NJ Personal Injury Claims
Don't assume that just because you signed a waiver that you are not able to recover damages for your child in the event of an accident at camp. Consult with your Monmouth County and Ocean County Personal Injury attorney about your case today at 732-709-7757. Our accident attorneys will negotiate with the insurance company to be sure you get the compensation you deserve and protect your rights. Villani & DeLuca's knowledgeable lawyers understand the New Jersey laws and will guide you through them, helping you at every step of the process.