Birmingham Child Camp Accident Lawyer
Summer camp is a ritual that many Birmingham children and families enjoy, especially post-pandemic when children have been kept away from their friends for so long. That makes it even more heartbreaking and traumatic if children get injured in a camp accident due to the negligence of the camp organizers or staff. If this happened to your child, you may be entitled to compensation.
Camp organizers and staff should anticipate children being particularly eager to attend camp and be reunited with their friends. The organizers have an obligation to properly train their staff, conduct staff background checks, and provide adequate oversight and supervision. They and their staff must also take precautions not to expose children to unsafe conditions or situations and to keep camp equipment safe and in good working order.
While Birmingham parents assume some risk when sending their children off to camp, the camp organizers also assume responsibility for your children’s care and safety while attending their camp. The only way we can be certain where the fault for an accident that injured your child lies is to fully review the facts of your child’s Birmingham camp accident. If the camp is at fault, it’s important that they be held accountable so that no other children get hurt while at camp.
Request a free consultation with the experienced Birmingham child injury legal team at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP. You can contact us through our website, or give us a call at (205) 324-1212. We want to help your child get on the path to recovery as soon as possible.
Why Do I Need a Birmingham Child Camp Accident Attorney?
It is every parent’s nightmare to have their child suffer an accident or be hurt by the actions of another person, especially when they are out of the parent’s care. The American Camp Association counsels camp organizers and directors on the importance of having “appropriate supervision of campers” and outlines the steps camps need to take to manage the risks that are part of Birmingham summer camps. Some of these measures include:
- Conducting staff background checks, providing adequate training and continuous supervision
- Selecting proper equipment and maintaining it
- Creating an emergency response plan and training staff to implement it
- Being familiar with the grounds and facilities, especially any areas where children could be hurt
- Understanding campers’ special needs
- Monitoring and documenting campers’ experiences and events that could signal a possible threat to a camper
If the camp fails to adequately perform any of these, it can be very difficult to prove without an experienced Birmingham child camp accident injury attorney. At Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP, that’s what we are. We have been fighting for justice for children in Birmingham and around Alabama for years. We have children and grandchildren of our own and feel strongly that children have a right to a childhood free from pain and suffering due to someone else’s negligence.
You may also be able to make a case under Alabama’s “premises liability” law, which states that generally, the camp’s owners or managers have a duty to make sure the camp is safe for visitors and appropriate for children, since they are “inviting” children by promoting it as a Birmingham child’s camp. They also have to adequately warn campers and families of any dangers that may exist, such as a known water hole that a child could fall into, the possible presence of poison ivy, or the possibility of a snake bite. If the camp organizers and staff do not do this, it might be possible to hold the camp financially responsible for damages or injuries to the child campers.
If we make a claim that someone at the camp was negligent and that negligence caused or led to your child’s camp accident and injury, the camp may argue that you or your child contributed to that negligence. However, under Alabama law, children below a certain age cannot be capable of contributory negligence.
The camp organizers may also try to argue that any dangers were obvious to campers or that you waived your right to pursue a claim by signing a permission slip for your child to perform certain activities. This can be particularly complex if, for example, your child was injured at a sports camp with physical contact. Still, there is research to support that even at these sports camps, organizers can make changes to reduce injury risks.
You may be tempted to try to reach a settlement agreement with the camp’s insurance company because you need money for your child’s medical care, and they have promised to send it quickly. However, they are not in the business of paying you as much as you deserve, only as little as they can get away with.
The camp’s insurance company may also try to use anything you say against you to prove that you contributed to the negligence. If you threaten them with legal action, they may try to tell you that you won’t have time if it’s nearly two years since the accident, since that is the time allowed to file a lawsuit under Alabama law. However, that statute of limitations does not apply to children under the age of 19.
You can see that negligence cases can be very tricky unless handled by attorneys with this kind of experience in Alabama. We also have the experience and the capability to conduct the type of investigation you need to fight whatever defense the other side tries to put up to deny you and your child justice.
You shouldn’t entrust your child’s justice to just any attorney. At Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP, you can count on our experienced legal team to do right by you and your child.
Causes of Birmingham Child Camp Injuries
According to the CDC, falls are among the most common cause of non-fatal child injuries, and this is true at camps, as well. High-risk activities that require extra care include horseback and bicycle riding, trampoline activities, and rock climbing, for example.
Collisions with another child or with an object, like a tree, can also cause serious injuries if children are not closely watched and warned. Children can cut themselves while using pocket or utility knives without proper training on how to handle them or without proper supervision.
Children at a Birmingham camp can be bitten by an animal, such as a snake or raccoon, or a domesticated animal like a dog. In addition to the dangers of plants like poison oak or poison ivy, children can have an allergic reaction to other plants that can cause severe rashes.
Many camps have campfires for stories, singing, or cooking s’mores. These activities can be distracting for both children and camp staff, increasing the likelihood of children suffering a burn injury.
In hot weather, children can suffer from heat-related accidents or experience overuse injuries if they are doing a lot of running or playing sports. This is particularly a concern for children in sport camps. Your child is also at risk for severe sunburn if camp staff members do not make sure they are applying and then re-applying sunscreen.
Finally, swimming poses a serious danger to children at camp if they are not carefully watched and if staff is not properly trained in life-saving procedures. According to the CDC, younger children are particularly at risk.
Children attending camp can also have an accident if the facilities are not properly inspected after each group of camp children leaves. This includes playground equipment, handrails and stairs, tables, chairs, loose floorboards or carpet, and electrical cords and equipment. Children can also slip and fall on wet floors or in the shower.
Your child is also at an increased risk of falling ill while at camp. Illnesses range from mild colds to parasitic infections from contaminated water and also to COVID-19. If your child is required to take medication for severe allergies or any other conditions, camp staff should ensure they are taking their medication as instructed.
What To Do if Your Child Has a Summer Camp Accident
After your Birmingham child camp accident, make sure your child gets immediate emergency help, write down the name of the emergency facility, and then get to them as soon as possible. Once there, write down the names of everyone on the medical team who is examining or treating your child.
Once your child is out of immediate danger, get copies of all medical records, then go visit the camp. While there:
- Get as much information as possible about how the accident occurred. Talk to witnesses, such as staff, other campers and parents, and take notes. Include the dates of all conversations.
- Take photographs of where the accident occurred. Include equipment that was involved in the accident, if any.
- Ask the camp organizer or director for the accident or incident report and whether a copy has been filed with the local police.
- Keep copies of all of your medical bills, including receipts for prescriptions and any equipment such as wheelchairs or crutches.
Finally, contact an experienced Birmingham child camp accident lawyer.
Don’t Wait Any Longer. Call Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP Today
The compassionate and experienced Birmingham legal team at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP is ready to step in and fight for you and your child. You don’t pay a dime until we get money for you. Call us today at (205) 324-1212 for your free consultation, and let us help your child get their childhood back.