Should you sign a parent release for summer camp?May 16, 2016
Gary Jodat Video Presentation on Summer Camp Waivers
SIGNING CHILDREN’S SUMMER ACTIVITY RELEASES/WAIVERS
The end of the School year is here and your children will be signing up for Summer Camp with activities including Gymnastics, Sailing, Boating, Sports…
To Register, you as the parent will be asked to sign a summer camp WAIVER AND RELEASE because the camp doesn’t want to take responsibility if your child is injured even when it’s their fault.
AND the Camp will ask you to indemnify them, meaning that if you recover damages or if you file a suit to recover damages, the camp can collect the money from you and/or you would have to pay for their lawyer.
EXAMPLE: Your child is at gymnastics camp and the counselor or instructor is spotting your child while he or she is using the apparatus. Your child is on the piece of equipment and needs help getting off of it. That is part of the spotter’s responsibility but the spotter/counselor has walked away to talk with his girlfriend who is also a counselor. Your child falls off of it and breaks a bone and is severely injured. You want the camp to pay for the medical bills, the pain and suffering and the rehabilitation. That Release and Waiver you signed on behalf of your child says YOU CAN’T and even if you try you pay the Camp’s legal costs. THANKFULLY The Florida Supreme Court has said your fundamental right to raise your child does NOT mean the parent has a right to sign a pre injury release waiving your child’s future claim against the Camp.
Our Supreme Court in this State had the foresight to reason that if you allow parents to sign a release, the commercial recreational entity would have no incentive to take reasonable care to protect the safety of children. Further, our Supreme Court has said that the commercial recreational provider cannot force parents to indemnify and hold harmless the provider. As a matter of public policy this is not enforceable.
Finally our State Legislature modified the Supreme Court’s ruling if an activity involves an inherent risk and it was that risk that caused the injury. There is still a gray area in the law though where Community and school sponsored activities may avoid responsibility if the parent signs off.
On April 27, 2010 Fla. Stat. § 744.301(3) became law. The new statute was designed to LIMIT THE SUPREME COURT’S RULING. It restored the effectiveness of parental Pre-Activity Releases to the following extent: Natural guardians are authorized, on behalf of their minor children, to waive and release in advance, any claim or cause of action against a commercial activity provider, or its owners, affiliates, employees, or agents, which would accrue to a minor child for personal injury, including death, and property damage, resulting from an inherent risk in the activity.
However, this statute requires specific language including font and type to be used in order for it to be effective.
NOTICE TO THE MINOR CHILD’S NATURAL GUARDIAN
READ THIS FORM COMPLETELY AND CAREFULLY. YOU ARE AGREEING TO LET YOUR MINOR CHILD ENGAGE IN A POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS ACTIVITY. YOU ARE AGREEING THAT, EVEN IF ( name of released party or parties ) USES REASONABLE CARE IN PROVIDING THIS ACTIVITY, THERE IS A CHANCE YOUR CHILD MAY BE SERIOUSLY INJURED OR KILLED BY PARTICIPATING IN THIS ACTIVITY BECAUSE THERE ARE CERTAIN DANGERS INHERENT IN THE ACTIVITY WHICH CANNOT BE AVOIDED OR ELIMINATED. BY SIGNING THIS FORM YOU ARE GIVING UP YOUR CHILD’S RIGHT AND YOUR RIGHT TO RECOVER FROM ( name of released party or parties ) IN A LAWSUIT FOR ANY PERSONAL INJURY, INCLUDING DEATH, TO YOUR CHILD OR ANY PROPERTY DAMAGE THAT RESULTS FROM THE RISKS THAT ARE A NATURAL PART OF THE ACTIVITY. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO SIGN THIS FORM, AND ( name of released party or parties ) HAS THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO LET YOUR CHILD PARTICIPATE IF YOU DO NOT SIGN THIS FORM.
FOR EXAMPLE, If your child is in involved in a boating activity and is struck by a rogue wave and injured a camp may be insulated from liability because a rogue wave is an inherent danger.
If the activity is paddle boarding and your child is injured due to a shark bite ….that is an inherent danger and the camp may be protected if certain conditions are met.
Jodat Law Group, Personal Injury Lawyers
If you have a situation where your child was injured at a summer camp, contact the personal injury lawyers at Jodat Law Group. You will meet with one of our expert and aggressive attorneys face-t0-face to determine if you have a liability case. Your first consultation is free of charge, so visit JodatLawGroup.com to schedule an appointment! Who’s That? Jodat!