When Your Child is Injured at Camp

When a child is severely injured or loses his or her life while at camp in Minnesota the facility owners/ managers, camp staff members and others may be able to be held liable for any damages associated with the incident. In some cases, personal injury liability law still applies even when a release of liability waiver is signed.

Every year, more than 14 million children and adults attend over 14,000 camps throughout the United States. Approximately 86 percent of these camps offer some type of recreational swimming, around 47 percent offer climbing/ rappelling activities, and approximately 34 percent offer horseback riding. A variety of other types of recreational activities are typically offered as well. Unfortunately, these activities are not always safe or adequately supervised, and thousands of children are seriously injured or killed while participating.

In Minnesota, most camps require that parents sign a release of liability waiver to protect the camp from being held responsible for accidents that might occur. While this waiver does in fact protect camping facilities and staff members from liability in some situations, it is not all-inclusive, and not all waiver forms are created the same. In 2013, Minnesota passed a law that states that release waivers cannot protect defendants from liability for injuries that occur due to wanton or willful negligence. Additionally, when a liability waiver contains language that is overly broad, it may not be enforceable at all.


There are a number of reasons that children suffer injuries or fatalities while attending camp.

  • Inadequate Supervision: One of the most common reasons kids get hurt is inadequate supervision. High camper to staff member ratios, supervisor distractions and failure to take necessary actions result in activities that are seemingly safe becoming dangerous or even deadly.
  • Improper Training: Camp owners and managers are responsible for ensuring that supervising staff members are adequately trained to help keep kids safe and to perform first aid, CPR, or other necessary measures in the event of an accident.
  • Faulty Equipment: Camping facilities are required to keep equipment well maintained, free from defect, and in good repair. Faulty equipment like frayed ropes in a climbing activity, defective life preservers used while swimming, or even loose hand rails can cause serious injuries.
  • Abuse: When a staff member or visitor causes injury to a child who is attending camp, the camp may be held liable for injuries suffered.

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