What are my rights if my son was hurt while at summer camp?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2014

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What are my rights if my son was hurt while at summer camp?

He had paint and pool particles from a water park pool jammed under his toenail because a non-camp goer pushed him (unprovoked). No one from the camp was paying attention to him and did not see him get hurt. He sent his friend to get help. Counselors admitted they didn’t see anything. They admitted to making a judgement call to allow him to swim in a category above my listed comfort zone(beginner vs. advanced). My son needed to receive multiple nerve blocker shots to numb his foot in order to remove the particle in his foot. He could not participate in the majority of the 2 week camp because it was mostly water activities (which was paid for). I now have emergency room bills. Is it just an accident?

Asked on September 30, 2014 under Personal Injury, Maine


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If they allowed him to swim in a category above your listed comfort zone, that *may* have been negligence (unreasonable carelessness) and so the camp may be  liable. It is not 100% clear they would be, though, because the injury, from what your write, stemmed not from swimming, but from being pushed by a non-camp goer, for whose actions they would not be liable; to hold the camp liable in court (and note: if they do not pay you compensation voluntarily, you'd have to sue to get it), you would have to show in court that it is more likely than not that the injury directly resulted from his being allowed to swim at a too-high or -difficult level; if the injury had nothing to do with his swimming at too high a level, they would likely not be liable. (You have to show that their negligence "proximally caused" the injury, or had a direct causal link to it.)

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