At the beginning of every summer, the academic school year comes to an end and young students across the country begin their month-long vacations. Many of these children are filled with joy, not only cause they're done with school for the foreseeable future, but also because they get the chance to attend summer camps.
But for untold attendees each year, what should be weeks full of friendship, adventure, and learning instead become unforgettable trauma due to drownings at summer camps. In the following article, our drowning lawyers explore the characteristics and causes of these needless deaths.
Whether young children and teens are sent away for weeks at a time for a residential summer camp, or if they only spend a couple of hours a day away from home, it is almost guaranteed that at one point or another, one of the summer camp activities will include swimming in a pool, lake, or other body of water.
Just as assuredly as these water activities are the seemingly endless liability waivers that parents and guardians will be required to sign before their children can attend. Surely, by signing these legally-binding documents, parents are giving up the right to take legal action if their child suffers a camp drowning, right?
Within the realm of responsibilities held by camp directors and supervisors is that of ensuring the well-being and safety of camp attendees. This responsibility may not be directly stated on paper but it can likely be considered implicit. If an underlying understanding that the camper is to be cared for while they are at the summer camp were not present, then no reasonable parent would permit their child to attend.
This points to the fact that, whether a liability waiver is signed or not, a duty of care likely exists. If this duty of care is breached due to negligence and a child drowns at summer camp, then the family of the victim can seek justice and compensation via a lawsuit. Even if the child survives but suffers still suffers injuries in a near-drowning incident, they likely have grounds for filing suit.
Determining who was the negligent party or parties after a drowning at a camp occurs can be a complicated matter. It will also depend heavily on the specific circumstances of the incident.
For instance, if a camp attendee drowns at a private pool only used by campers, then it is likely that the organizers of the summer camp could be held liable. On the other hand, if campers take a day trip to a public pool or lake, then the administrators of the pool or lake could be held responsible for the accident. In this second example, however, the summer camp administrators may also be found negligent, since their duty of care was not lifted simply because they traveled somewhere outside of the camp's premises.
Summer camp drownings, if they result in death or not, are often seen as accidents.
However, whether they are considered accidents or not is irrelevant when the potential consequences are so severe. Young lives are lost each year at the hands of negligent camp administrators and staff. These completely preventable tragedies may continue occurring unless victims take definitive action such as by filing a lawsuit.
If it was your loved one who lost their lives in a summer camp drowning, then know that you, too, have the power to effect change and save lives. Contact our experienced lawyers today to learn how.