SUMMER CAMP DROWNING LAWYERS
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Summer camp is a favorite pastime for many kids; they look forward to enhanced independence and engaging in fun activities with new friends. Many parents also look forward to having more free time without the kids; but sending their kids away and out of their sight requires parents to trust that they will be safe and well looked after by the summer camp employees.
Even a camp with a good reputation cannot completely remove the camp’s risks of tragic accidents. No matter where it happens, a grieving parent whose child has drowned at summer camp should never have to face it alone.
If a child has been injured by–or worse, has died from—a summer camp drowning accident, a Zinda Law Group drowning attorney can help determine who is responsible for the accident. Call (800) 863-5312 for a free case evaluation with a drowning lawyer today.
potential issues with suing summer camps
Summer camps usually operate like a business; most are staffed and owned by truly caring individuals. However, many businesses that offer activities that risk injury or even death use different strategies to lower the amount of money or responsibility they owe to the customer. These strategies are meant to protect the business.
Some strategies are used before an accident happens while others are put into motion after an accident happens, and especially when they expect to face a lawsuit. These strategies can play a major role in how much or whether a parent could recover damages if their child drowned under the camp’s supervision.
Many parents sign a “waiver of liability” when they send their kids to camp; the waivers usually state that the camp is protected from any legal responsibility if the child is injured. People may believe that a waiver means they are giving up their right to sue the camp if their child is injured while under its care. However, this is not completely true.
For a number of reasons, a waiver may not be enforceable and so the camp can be held responsible. A court can look at things like how the waiver is worded or how it was signed to determine whether it can prevent a parent from recovering. States usually have different laws and cases that decide what counts as an acceptable waiver, and states also have laws about what conduct cannot be protected by a waiver.
Therefore, even if you have signed a waiver, that does not necessarily mean you cannot sue the summer camp for your child’s injury or death. A summer camp drowning attorney can give a better sense of your options based on cases similar to yours.
Settlements are compromises or agreements between two parties to a lawsuit or a potential lawsuit. Businesses, like summer camps, may try to settle a case quickly by offering a large sum of money to the parents so that they can avoid the publicity of a lawsuit. Parents, especially ones who are not represented by a lawyer, may believe the camp is acting selflessly and interpret the money as an apology or acknowledgement of its wrongdoing.
However, even if a settlement offer seems generous at first, the case may be worth more because of facts that the summer camp did not think or want to think about when calculating costs. Having an attorney throughout the process is important. They can advise you whether a settlement offer is reasonable based on previous cases and the law.
Another way a summer camp may respond to a lawsuit or threat of a lawsuit is to shame the parents. Using the media and other social networks to psychologically force the parent to not speak up against it is a very real strategy. For example, the camp might present the facts so that the child seems to be at fault for the accident or that the amount of money requested by the parents is completely unreasonable given the situation; by shaming, the camp can push the parent to not file a claim or to drop the suit because the parent faces negative public views.
Whatever the circumstances you find yourself in or the kind of communications you have had with the summer camp, speaking to a drowning lawyer is a good first step. A lawyer who is unemotionally involved can look at the situation more clearly and can give advice on what the next steps should be, both legally and practically.
who is the right person to sue?
A summer camp drowning accident will fall under a “personal injury” or “wrongful death” claim; knowing who you can sue is an important part of the claim. A person or business that is found to be responsible for the accident will be the one who will have to pay the amount of “damages” or the costs of the accident. For summer camp drowning accidents, several people could be partly or wholly responsible.
The Summer Camp
The camp itself has a general responsibility for the safety of the children; an acceptable waiver can give the camp some protection, but it still has to act reasonable with how it runs the program. For example, whether it has a good supervision system in place for the children is a responsibility the camp has as the “boss.” How the camp hires and trains the employees are other responsibilities a court can consider if they are related to or led to the accident.
The Camp Counselor
Individual counselors are usually the people who have the immediate responsibility for and look after the children. As an employee for the camp, the counselor has to act under the camp’s assigned duties and rules. If the counselor acts outside of his or her assigned duties, then it is possible that they could be held responsible for a child’s drowning under their supervision.
Depending on the size and structure of the camp, a lifeguard may be the employee responsible for children in a pool or water area where the child drowned. Part of a lifeguard’s responsibility is to make sure swimmers stay within the body of water they are in charge of, so when they do not do this, they can be held liable for injuries or deaths that result.
Determining who is responsible is important because the law considers what type of responsibilities and duties each person has and how those actions relate to the accident. Just because an accident happens at a camp does not mean the camp itself did not satisfy its duties. That means figuring out who is responsible can be a difficult process and discussing the details of your family’s case with an experienced drowning attorney is the best way to gain an understanding of who might be liable.
how do I know what i can recover?
While it can feel difficult for parents to start to think about money in this difficult situation, costs can build up. There may be compensation available for grieving parents, and a summer camp drowning lawyer can give you an idea of how much it might be and how you can pursue it. Generally, damages will fall into one of a few different categories.
Economic damages are the monetary losses a person or family suffers because of the accident. In a summer camp drowning accident, economic damages might include the cost for any emergency medical treatment that was provided at the scene or afterwards, cost for any physical therapy or rehabilitative treatment, or funeral costs.
Non-economic damages refer generally to the pain and suffering that a victim experiences as a result of an accident. In a near-drowning accident, a child may suffer from trauma-related issues like being unable to go near any kind of open water or nightmares related to the accident. If a child passes, then there may be compensation available for parents for their emotional trauma and their lost relationship with their child.
As opposed to the first two types of damages, which are focused on helping the victim or their family recover to the financial position that they were in before the accident, punitive damages are focused more on the wrongdoer. In cases where a wrongdoer acted in a particularly reckless or purposeful way, punitive damages may be awarded to a victim as a form of punishment for the wrongdoer or as a way to prevent other summer camps from acting in the same irresponsible way.
general steps after a summer camp drowning accident
After a drowning accident at a summer camp, parents are likely grieving and feeling indescribable pain. On top of this, they may not have any idea of what kind of compensation is available to them or how to seek it. While no two cases will ever go the exact the same way, it is helpful to have an understanding of the general steps that need to be completed when filing a claim.
1. Speak with a summer camp drowning lawyer.
The first, and perhaps most important, step in the process is to get an understanding of your legal rights and how to pursue them. There is no better way to do this than to discuss the details of your case with an experienced drowning attorney. A lawyer can help you to determine whether you have a claim worth pursuing, and how to seek maximum compensation.
2. Research and investigate.
After you have hired an attorney, they can conduct the research and investigation that is necessary. If your child drowned at summer camp, they may be looking into what kind of waiver you may have signed, the applicable laws in the state in which the accident occurred, and any other details surrounding the accident.
3. Negotiate a Settlement
Once they have the initial preparation completed, your attorney can start to negotiate your claim with the other parties involved. Negotiation of a settlement is an important stage because most cases settle before going to trial, so this is the chance to make the case for maximum compensation and avoid quick settlement offers. A fair and good settlement also helps avoid trial costs for both parties.
Contact zinda law group today for a free consultation
Drowning at summer camps does not always happen at far locations in a huge lake; some organizations or businesses may have a local day camp schedule, and the staff takes children out to the city pool as an activity. No matter where the incident occurred in which your family suffered a loss through drowning at a summer camp, Zinda Law Group drowning attorneys have a wealth of resources and experience in handling many types of summer camp drowning cases. After your first confidential consultation, we can determine whether you should be able to seek the maximum compensation available for both economic and non-economic damages in cases like yours.
We believe that grieving parents shouldn’t be forced to worry about their ability to afford legal representation, which is why we are proud to offer 100% free consultations and a “No Win, No Fee Guarantee.” Our No Win, No Fee Guarantee means you do not have to pay unless we successfully obtain a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your case.