Recreation activities can be loosely defined as those activities that people engage in for leisure, generally during their free time or while on vacation. These can include activities such as:
- Dirt bike riding;
- Hunting; and
- Sports activities, such as baseball, football, and golf.
In legal terms, “recreation” is generally associated with more casual activities that are done simply to pass time or as a hobby, as opposed to being a profession.
While many recreation activities are considered to be generally non-aggressive, some of them can be considerably intense and include competitive aspects. As such, injuries from recreation activities can often result simply from the nature of the activity. This is especially true for more fast-paced sports. Alternatively, they may result from some form of negligence.
Injuries can range from very mild to severe, depending on the circumstances as well as the type of recreational activity that resulted in the injury. Some examples of common recreation accidents and injuries include, but may not be limited to:
- Simple strains or sprains;
- Cuts, abrasions, and bruises;
- Fire-related accidents and injuries, especially for recreational activities such as camping;
- Water-related injuries, especially for fishing, boating, and other water-sport activities; and
- Skin rashes or exposure to allergens or toxins
Because the term “recreation” covers a broad range of activities, there can be a wide range of injuries resulting from participating in recreational activities other than what has just been discussed. More serious cases involve broken bones, fractures, and other similar injuries.
Tents are commonly used for hiking, camping, and other recreation activities. As such, they can be associated with various types of accidents and injury cases, including:
- Accidents resulting from a tent collapsing or falling which can lead to suffocation or other issues;
- Tent injuries resulting from the tent catching fire; and
- Injuries resulting from sharp edges, objects protruding from the tent structure, or other such injuries.
Many tent recalls are issued due to issues with the tent material. This can include issues associated with flammability, toxic materials, mold, or other such health and safety risks.
Who Can Be Held Liable For A Tent Accident Injury?
Most recreation accidents are based on some form of negligence. Negligence is the legal theory allowing for injured parties to recover for the carelessness of others. A person is said to be negligent if they were careless, given the circumstances of the situation. Another way of saying it is that the person has failed to exercise the amount of care that is reasonably due to another person in that specific situation.
Negligence has four elements that must be proven in order to recover for injuries:
- Duty: A duty is a responsibility that one person owes to another. Generally speaking, people going about their day owe each other a duty of reasonable care. This is the amount of care that an ordinary and prudent person would use in the same situation;
- Breach: A breach of duty occurs when a person’s care falls below the level that is required by their duty;
- Causation: This element dictates that the breach of a duty must be the cause of injury. The legal test for causation is ‘but for’ one party’s actions, the injury would not have occurred; and
- Damages: Generally speaking, there must be some sort of harm that occurred as a result of the breach of duty. The type of injury can vary from property damage to lost wages.
All of the above must be present in order to successfully determine that the other party was negligent. If one of the elements cannot be proven, negligence cannot be established.
In terms of who can be held liable for negligence, this will vary depending on the situation. Some parties that can be held liable include activity guides, such as hiking guides or scout troop leaders. Other parties include instructors, coaches, and similar figures, as well as other activity participants.
It is important to note that many recreation programs are run by the city or county. As such, determining liability may be considerably difficult. Additionally, many such programs require participants to sign a liability waiver.
In terms of injuries caused by a tent accident, the producer, designer, or manufacturer of a tent product may be held liable if the accident or injury was caused by a defect with the tent. An example of this would be how if a defect with the tent’s materials is what caused the tent to catch fire more easily, the manufacturer could be held liable under a product liability theory of law.
In other cases, a retail store or camping company may be held liable for negligence if they knowingly sold or provided a tent that:
- Is dangerous;
- Has known defects; and/or
- Has already been subject to a tent recall.
Product liability, as well as product recalls, will be further discussed below.
What Should I Know About Product Liability?
A products liability claim holds the manufacturer or seller of a product accountable for placing a defective product into the stream of commerce. Any party that is responsible for any part of the manufacture of the product may be held liable, just as any seller may be liable.
There are three types of defects that could result in one or all of the parties involved in the manufacture and sale of the product being held liable for any resulting injuries:
- Design Defects: Design defects are contained within the design of the product. No matter how well the product is manufactured after being designed, and no matter how thoroughly a consumer is warned about the product after being manufactured, if the design is defective it is inherently flawed and could lead to potential liability;
- Manufacturing Defects: A manufacturing defect occurs when the manufacturer assembles the product in such a way that renders the product unsafe; and
- Defective Warnings: Some products may lead to a products liability suit if there is an inadequate warning regarding the dangers and safety risks associated with the product. Defective warning products liability cases also include failure to properly instruct a consumer in terms of how to use the product.
A product recall occurs when the majority of the product becomes unsafe to use. Either a government agency or the manufacturer will alert the public, recommending a particular action to ensure their safety while using the product.
There are legal consequences associated with recalling the defective product, such as a class action lawsuit after an issuance of a product recall. Additionally, a simple recall for the defective product may not be sufficient for the government agency who ordered the recall. The liable parties may be required to take other action in addition to recalling the product, such as compensating those who bought the product.
What Are The Legal Remedies For A Tent Accident Injury?
Tent injuries may require legal action to resolve any disputes, and would most likely mirror personal injury lawsuits. In such lawsuits, the most common legal remedy would be a compensatory damages award that is issued to the injured party. The damages are intended to cover losses such as:
- Hospital and medical costs;
- Lost wages due to missing work during medical rehabilitation; and/or
- Pain and suffering.
Do I Need An Attorney For A Tent Accident Injury?
If you have been injured while using a tent and believe it is due to a defective product, you will need to consult with an area personal injury attorney.
An experienced and local lawyer can advise you regarding your legal rights and options according to your state’s specific laws, and will be aware of any class action lawsuits you may be able to join. Additionally, your personal injury lawyer will also be able to represent you in court, as needed.