On privately-owned campground sites, owners and operators are liable for campsite injuries, but campgrounds operated by county, state, and federal entities have governmental immunities.
Liability for Campsite Injuries
For millions of Americans, camping is a family tradition. Each year, thousands of families pack up their gear and head out on a road trip to a favorite campsite for a relaxing experience filled with outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and fishing. Camping is a great way to enjoy family time and the beauty of nature, but it does not come without risks.
While public health officials rate camping as a relatively low-risk activity as long as safety precautions are taken, there are still many injuries observed by personal injury attorneys who see all types of camping injuries including:
- Facial lacerations
- Eye injuries
- Fractured and broken bones
- Neck and head trauma
- Snakebites, animal bites, and bee stings
Most campers are aware of camping risks in an outdoor environment, but who is liable for injuries when they occur? In most cases, it is the campsite owner or operator who is responsible for injuries because they are expected to keep their premises in “reasonably safe” condition. This means the campsite owner or operator must maintain the campgrounds, hiking trails, swimming and fishing areas and post visible signs about campsite safety regulations and warnings.
When campsite injuries occur on privately-owned campsites, the liability falls on the property owner or campsite operator under premises liability laws. However, to file an injury lawsuit with a personal injury attorney, the injury victim must prove that the campground owner or operator was aware, or should have reasonably known about, the dangerous condition; the dangerous condition was not obvious to any reasonable person so the condition could have been avoided; and there were no visible warning signs posted to warn of possible dangers of hazardous conditions in the area
When campsites are owned by the county, state, or federal government, it is much more difficult to win a personal injury lawsuit because these entities are granted certain immunities. In these situations, a personal injury lawyer who knows state and federal laws may be able to help.
Some states enforce campground liability waivers that state that campers recognize certain risks and may not hold the campground liable for injuries. However, a personal injury lawyer can still file a lawsuit if negligent or reckless behaviors led to injuries.