Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
Sleepaway camps and sports camps are common ways for children to spend their summers. While many walk away from camp with fond memories, others leave with terrible memories of mistreatment and abuse. Many victims of sexual abuse at camp might not have the frame of reference to understand what happened to them until later in life, and many come forward as adults to seek help after what happened to them.
The Law Office of Andrew Shubin’s attorney for victims who were sexually abused at camp represents adults and children and their families across the country in cases against camp organizations and counselors to seek justice for victims of sexual abuse. For help with your potential case, call our lawyer today to set up a free, confidential legal consultation where you can learn more about how to proceed with your case and what compensation might be available. Call us today at (814) 826-3586.
Can You Sue a Camp for Sexual Abuse and Assault?
Camp counselors and the other staff and operators of camps are responsible for what happens at the camp. Many camping organizations use waivers and other releases to avoid liability for injuries specifically because they know they would otherwise be responsible for what happens to the children in their care. However, even with waivers and signed releases, these camps are often still responsible for sexual abuse and other illegal grooming or molestation that their counselors and staff members are accused of.
In most states, the law allows victims of negligence and intentional acts of violence or sexual abuse to sue the employer of the person who committed the acts. As long as the acts occurred during the scope of the counselor’s employment, the camp might be liable for what their counselor did. This could help hold camp counselors responsible during camp hours, or even potentially when the counselor is off duty but still on site at a sleepaway camp.
In many cases, the camp’s involvement in the case will go beyond their role as the abuser’s employer. In the past, many allegations of abuse or inappropriate conduct went overlooked by organizations like camps, and many accused abusers were kept on staff where they abused more people. Today, this happens less frequently but is still a real issue. Camps who covered up for abusers or failed to investigate accusations of sexual abuse against camp counselors can often be sued alongside the individual abuser.
Camps can also be held responsible if they hired a camp employee or used volunteer workers who were not properly cleared or screened. If they knew or should have known that an employee or volunteer had a criminal record or a past history of sexual abuse allegations that make them legally unable to work with kids, the camp could be liable for any further abuse. There are mandatory background check and clearance laws in many states for anyone working with children that aim to avoid these situations.
Suing a Camp Counselor for Childhood Sexual Abuse
While you can sue the camp in many cases of sexual abuse at camp, you usually must sue the individual abuser as well. That means filing a lawsuit against the camp counselor or staff member directly alongside the camp they worked at.
When you sue the individual abuser, you can ask the court to hold them directly responsible for what happened, which can lead to the camp’s vicarious liability or shared liability. In some cases, you cannot sue the camp because the organization has been shut down for a long time, but you can still sue the individual counselor.
In some cases, it can be hard to recall which counselor abused you, but our attorneys can request employment records and other evidence to help prove which individual counselor was responsible. Especially if you have photos from camp or other evidence as to who the abusive counselor was, our lawyers can use this evidence to hold the right person accountable.
Damages for Sexual Abuse Lawsuits against Camps and Camp Counselors
When you sue for sexual abuse, you are often entitled to damages based on the harm you suffered. When you sue a camp counselor directly, there is no guarantee that they will have the money to personally cover the damages you suffered. However, by suing the camping organization alongside the individual abuser, you can often open up additional funds that the camp can use to pay the damages. In some states, courts could even rule that both the individual and the camp are responsible, and then order the damages to be paid by the party who can best afford it.
The damages that you can claim in a sexual abuse lawsuit can include any harms related to the abuse you endured. Survivors of sexual abuse at camp often face physical injuries that may have needed treatment at a hospital. They could also almost certainly face physical pain or discomfort as well as mental and emotional distress from the events. Any reasonable medical expenses or mental health care expenses related to the trauma could also be claimed in most states.
In addition, most states allow victims to sue for punitive damages. These damages are used to punish the at-fault camp counselor and camping organization and to deter them and others from doing similar things in the future. These damages are not necessarily dependent on your other damages and could be a substantial part of your case. However, they are not guaranteed in every case and might be limited by damage caps in some states.
Call Our Attorney for Victims of Sexual Abuse by Camp Counselors
If you suffered childhood sexual abuse at a camp or you believe that your child has been sexually abused or inappropriately treated by camp counselors or other camping staff, call our institutional sexual abuse lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today. Our attorney can help you determine whom to sue, what your case might be worth, and the best strategy to maximize your chance of seeking justice and getting the compensation you deserve for the abuse you endured. For help with your case, call us at (814) 826-3586.