What Parents Need to Know About Liability For Summer Camp Injuries in Ontario

summer camp written in chalkChildren can have a lot of fun at summer camp and learn valuable lessons about leadership, independence and working with others. Despite these benefits, there are risks. Namely the potential for a variety of injuries.

When an injury occurs, there are important questions for parents to consider. Could your child’s injury have been prevented? If so, could the summer camp or another party be held liable for your child’s medical expenses and other damages?

Call Greg Monforton and Partners to discuss what your next steps could be. Our personal injury lawyers in Windsor have been securing compensation for the injured in Windsor and throughout Ontario for decades.

Contact us to review your legal options. Phone: (866) 320-4770.

How Children Could Get Injured at Summer Camp

Some summer camps have a higher potential for injuries than others. For example, summer camps with a lot of outdoor activities (hiking, camping, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding, etc.) or camps focused on sports like basketball, soccer or baseball present a risk for injuries. Many injuries occur on playgrounds, because children often exercise poor judgment, which could place them in dangerous situations.

This is why children need an appropriate amount of adult supervision. Adults also need to know when to step in to protect children from harm or make sure safety guidelines are being followed. Adult supervision is particularly important at swimming pools, as there is always a risk of drowning or slip and fall injuries around the pool.

Children can suffer injuries in a variety of situations. For example, they could be doing arts and crafts and suffer a slip and fall injury because of a wet or slippery surface.

There are also times when children get into fights that should have been broken up, but they were allowed to go on because there was no adult around or an adult chose not to step in.

Unfortunately, sometimes staff members are too rough with children, and they cause them to suffer injuries. These individuals may have had similar problems when supervising children in the past and it may have been negligent for the camp to hire them.

Liability for Your Child’s Injury

It may be possible to hold the camp liable for your child’s injury. You would be holding the camp liable for the action or inaction of people who were supervising your child. For example, your case could be focused on a failure to provide appropriate supervision at the time of your child’s injury.

Other reasons a camp could potentially be held liable for a child’s injury include:

  • Failing to ensure children had the appropriate safety equipment, such as life jackets or helmets
  • Failure to make sure children used safety equipment properly – summer camps cannot escape liability by claiming they provided equipment and children chose not to wear it
  • Failing to properly inspect playground equipment to ensure it was safe to use
  • Poor maintenance of play structures, play fields, sporting equipment or facilities
  • Failing to remove hazardous conditions staff members were aware of or should have been aware of
  • Failing to conduct the necessary reference or criminal background checks on staff members
  • Failing to provide first aid or respond appropriately to a child’s injury

What if You Signed a Liability Waiver?

Many summer camps ask parents to sign liability waivers before their kids can participate. These waivers say that you are absolving the camp from any liability for injuries to your children and that you accept the risks.

However, you should not assume signing a liability waiver prevents you from filing a negligence claim. The language in the waiver must be clear. In other words, you cannot assume the risks of something unless those risks are clearly stated in the waiver. The waiver would also have to say you are releasing individual parties from liability for their acts of negligence.

Sometimes these things are stated but the print is too small to read. Something like this could allow a court to say the waiver is invalid.

Even though you signed the waiver, the camp may have failed to take reasonable steps to keep children safe and reduce the risk of injury.

Occupier’s Liability Act

An experienced lawyer may be able to make a claim under the Ontario Occupier’s Liability Act. This act holds that the children who are participating in an activity have the same legal status as contractual entrants. This is because their parents entered a contract when they paid for their children to attend camp.

In some cases, it might be possible to file a claim against a government entity, such as if your child was injured while camping at an Ontario provincial park or campground. In this type of situation, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry had a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent people from getting injured.

For example, reasonable steps could include posting signs warning about dangers on a hiking trail. You might think that if your child did something unreasonably dangerous there is no case, as this is not something that could have been accounted for. However, a court could still rule that the province did not do a good enough job monitoring the risks on the hiking trail.

Call to Discuss Your Injury Claim and Possible Next Steps

When you have questions after your injury or your loved one’s injury, you need legal help you can trust. Greg Monforton and Partners has been working with the injured in Ontario for many years. We have a proven history of results.

Our lawyers do not charge any upfront fees or costs. The initial legal consultation is also free of charge. That means there is no risk in you calling us to find out about your potential legal options.

Free legal consultation. Give us a call today: (866) 320-4770.