Summer's here and for many families that means the kids are gone, on their way to one of the multitude of summer sports camps.
But as President Obama highlighted in a recent speech, the rough-and-tumble world of kids' sports can be a potential source of serious injuries which can have long-lasting physical and emotional effects.
What should you be aware of before you drop off the kids at a sports camp? Here are five legal tips every parent will want to keep in mind:
- Be aware that sports camps aren't all fun and games. Although sports are supposed to be, and usually are, fun, there are risks involved in letting your child take part in any organized sports. Sports camp injuries are not uncommon and they can be severe -- such as the Tennessee teen who suffered a traumatic brain injury at a wrestling camp.
- Know the first steps to take in the event of an injury. After getting any necessary medical treatment, it's important to document the injury and the facts surrounding it, including what caused it. Photographs are very useful, as are written accounts from both the injured person and anyone who may have witnessed the injury.
- Look at your liability waiver very closely. Generally, before a child can attend a sports camp, a parent or guardian must sign a waiver which may affect your right to sue. But even a signed waiver is not always a valid defense a personal injury lawsuit; it depends on the specific facts of the incident. Some clauses found in liability waivers can be voided on public policy grounds as well.
- Many parties may potentially be liable for your child's injuries. With any personal injury suit, there may be multiple parties who could be held responsible. For example, the owner of the property may be liable under premises liability. And anyone even remotely involved in the business operations of the camp can potentially be sued as well, such as the three Dallas Cowboys players named in a lawsuit after a teenager nearly drowned at a summer football camp.
- Find out if a lawsuit worth pursuing. Although your child's injury may have caused a great deal of suffering and worry, not every injury makes for a legitimate (or worthwhile) personal injury suit. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to listen to the facts surrounding your child's injury and advise you on the likelihood of success.
Hopefully your child will return from camp unscathed. But it's always a good idea to prepared.
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