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Before you sign your child's camp liability waiver

Many New Yorkers opt to send their children to camp for part or all of the summer. This decision is quite understandable. Not only is the city intensely hot during the summer, but summer affords children the opportunity to get outside and play as much as possible. It is far easier to play in a camp setting than it is in many parts of the city. If your child is headed off to camp in the coming days and weeks, don’t forget to pack sunscreen, to update your contact information with the camp and to look over the camp’s liability waiver carefully.

Many businesses will not allow you to take advantage of their products or services if you do not sign a liability waiver. These legal documents are so common that they are used in numerous everyday transactions including updating your iTunes profile and renting a vehicle. However, it is important to understand what you are signing and the practical consequences of signing such a document.

A camp’s liability waiver will likely attempt to insulate the camp from any liability in the event that your child is injured, taken ill or killed while he or she is attending camp. Depending on the ways in which the waiver is structured, you still may be able to sue the camp if your child is harmed during his or her stay.

Simply because a waiver attempts to insulate an individual or a business from liability does not necessarily mean that the waiver will be valid under all circumstances. For example, if your child is being transported to a camp-related event and the driver of the car she or he is riding in is drunk, it is unlikely that a liability waiver would insulate the driver and possibly the camp from legitimate legal action.

No matter what, please keep a copy of the liability waiver on file. In the unlikely event that your child is hurt while at camp, you will want to bring a copy of that waiver to your attorney when you meet with him or her to discuss your legal options.

Source: Findlaw Injured, “3 Things to Know About Camp or Recreational Liability Waivers,” Le Trinh, June 4, 2015

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