Skip to main content

Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Search for legal issues
For help near (city, ZIP code or county)
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location

23 Boy Scouts Injured in Lightning Strike

Article Placeholder Image
By Brett Snider, Esq. on June 25, 2013 12:22 PM

Nearly two dozen New Hampshire Boy Scouts were hospitalized after a lightning strike Monday night, when a storm forced the boys to seek shelter.

Twenty-three Scouts were admitted for non-serious injuries including minor burns. The Scouts and their three Scout leaders all felt a tingling sensation following the strike, reports NBC News.

Luckily these Scouts were not seriously injured. But what if your child is injured by a lightning strike, or some other calamity, on their next group camping trip?

Lightning at Camp Bell

The Scouts injured on Monday were at a planned camping retreat at Camp Bell, one of two camps located at the Griswold Scout Reservation, reports the Associated Press.

The Boy Scouts of America's Daniel Webster Council has operated camps officially out of the Reservation since 1946, and opened Camp Bell for campers in 2000.

As the owner of the park, the Daniel Webster Council and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) can potentially be held liable for injuries that happen to campers on their property, even when caused by nature.

Liability Waivers

Property owners are held to a more stringent legal standard when it comes to preventing injuries to children on their property.

For that reason, the BSA makes all of its participant Scouts sign an "Activity Consent Form" that contains a liability waiver. The form releases the BSA from liability for any injuries that occur from participation in a camping trip.

Even though these waivers may seem devious or unfeeling, courts have upheld them, even in the case of a girl losing her thumb in a chimp attack.

Possible Negligence?

While it may be harder to sue the BSA, if your child is injured on a camping trip by a negligent Scout leader, you may be able to recover.

The Scouts at Camp Bell were struck by lightning while they were taking shelter under a tarp. In a possible negligence suit, a court might be asked to determine whether the Scout leaders acted with due care under the circumstances.

Whether an individual Scout leader was negligent might hinge on his adherence to camp rules and guidelines, like Camp Bell's warning to "avoid wide-open areas" during electrical storms.

Related Resources:

Find a Lawyer

More Options