Legal lens: Parents can expect to see more liability waivers for summer camps

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The Brown & Crouppen Legal Lens takes a closer look at day-to-day legal issues and gives you a better understanding of topics that may affect you.

ST. LOUIS – Signing disclaimers is nothing new, but following the experiences of the COVID pandemic, it seems more and more companies are demanding them.

With children going to summer camp, parents have to face the issue of signing these same waivers.

“We see a lot of summer camps requiring parents to sign disclaimers. It always has been, but not since the start of the pandemic, ”said Andrea McNairy, Managing Attorney at Brown & Crouppen.

What sort of things do you see? Does that include vaccinations or something else?

“This includes going out of summer camp. Really, it’s for any outing you could find, like a gym membership or a trampoline facility, to get your kids to go to a birthday party, ”she said. “What are releases, they usually contain a waiver or clause that releases (the company) from any future liability for injuries.”

But what if the place is careless? What kind of rights do families have with this?

“Well… private companies can require them, but the law governs what can and cannot be published, so I always advise parents to keep a copy of the release and read it before signing it.” McNairy said.

So any business can say “you have to sign this” or you can’t have your kids in our camp?

“Correct. Each state has different laws on whether a state can let a parent release a minor through a disclaimer,” McNairy said. “Illinois, no; Missouri has more discretion. allowed some waivers, but even then there is a test whether it is against public order, what is published is gross negligence, so each waiver of liability is very unique.

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