Camping Accidents: Can I Claim?

Australians are very spoiled when it comes to the outdoors. Whether it is bushland or beaches Australia has some of the best places to camp and caravan in the world. According to the Caravan Industry Association of Australia 85% of the Australian population has had a caravanning or camping experience at least once in their lifetime and 88% of campers say it is something that every child should experience.

A study completed in 2011 concluded that campers are happier, optimistic, satisfied, and more energised than non-campers, and that families that camp feel closer and wealthier. There are 170,000 powered and unpowered sites available nightly in Australia. The Tourism Research Australia National Visitor Survey indicates that there were over 30 million domestic visitor nights spent in a caravan park or commercial camping ground in Australia during the year ended September 2013.

Unfortunately, campaign accidents do happen. What happens when not all goes to plan at one of these sites and you sustain an injury?

We investigate your right to make a claim for an injury sustained at a campground, as well as provide some helpful tips to stop your well-earned holiday from becoming a nightmare.

Caravanning and camping not only boosts the economy, but it can also be a fun family activity that is very much on the increase. Caravanning and camping plays a vital role in the lives of many Australians. Just look at the following stats:

  • Expenditure by caravanning and camping consumers is approximately $7 billion annually;
  • The largest user group is 35-49 year olds with approximately 50% of all travel in the sector;
  • Caravan registrations increased 5.96% to January 2012;
  • For every $100 of caravan park revenue $138 worth of direct economic benefit flows through the local economy;
  • 90% of caravanning and camping activity is undertaken by Australian domestic travelers.

Given the above statistics, it is no secret that Australians love to camp or caravan. However every camper or caravanner must be prepared for the unexpected, as accidents and injuries do happen. Perhaps the one of the most well-known camping accidents is the giant sinkhole that opened up at Inskip Point in September 2015, swallowing cars and caravans into the ocean.

So what are your rights if you are injured at a campground?

The landowner/campsite owner has a legal duty of care to prevent reasonably foreseeable injury to a person coming onto their property. If they fail in this duty then they may be liable to compensate an injured person for the losses they have suffered as a result of using of their land.

So a claim for personal injury against the landowner/campsite owner for negligence will likely be successful if you can prove that the landowner/campsite owner knew, or ought to have known, that by failing to take certain reasonable steps, it was likely to lead to personal injury.

Therefore if the campers at Inskip Point who were injured as a result of the sinkhole wish to bring a claim for negligence they would have to prove that the campground owner was aware, or ought to have known, that the land was susceptible to sinkholes and should have prevented people from camping in that area of the park, or taken certain measures to guard against the risk of a sinkhole.

Camping Safety Tips

Despite the fact that accidents do happen, this should not be a discouraging factor if you are contemplating camping or caravanning for your next holiday. If you are new to camping or are considering camping for the first time, Go Camping Australia has the following camping tips for beginner campers:

  • Research where you are going;
  • Try your equipment out before you leave home;
  • Don’t rely on a campfire to cook food;
  • Don’t buy cheap goods over quality;
  • Don’t buy up big on camp gear when you are new;
  • Don’t buy the wrong type of bedding and shiver in your tent;
  • Don’t arrive late at your campsite;
  • Don’t leave food and garbage accessible to animals;
  • Don’t forget….camping is meant to be enjoyable!

Whether it’s the open air you seek, or whether it’s your desire to see more of Australia, camping and/or caravanning is a great way to achieve this goal.
If you are injured at a campground you must prove the landowner/occupier was negligent in failing to take certain reasonable steps to prevent you suffering injury, this is something we can assist you with and you can check out more about these types of accidents on our public liability page.

All injuries aside however, camping is a fun way to get into the outdoors and embrace what the Australian landscape has to offer!

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