New Missouri law protects private campgrounds from camping injury lawsuits

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 4:20 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - A new law to protect private campgrounds goes into effect August 28 in Missouri.

If an injury or death occurs from an inherent risk of camping, campground owners and employees will be protected from lawsuits. Ozark Country Campground Manager Teresa Bailey says she thinks more protection is needed.

“I’m gonna say that 99% of your campers, you don’t have issues out of,” Teresa Bailey said.

Bailey says it’s that one percent that can create many problems.

”I’ve seen lawsuits because of a lady stepping off the sidewalk even though we had signage that said do not and they stepped off and broke their leg,” Bailey said.

She says that’s a small glimpse into why there needs to be more protection for owners.

”Sometimes campgrounds get pushed to the side more than say motels or condominiums because there’s a greater quantity of them than there are campgrounds,” said Bailey.

The law does not protect a campground or its employees if there’s a lack of warning signs. Bailey says she understands because safety protocols throughout the campsite are very important.

”One of our main ones is we have a five-mile-an-hour speed limit because we have so many kids that come in and they run across the road,” Bailey said.

Guests must also stop at the office.

”That’s for our campers security, we want to know who’s in the campground,” said Bailey.

Steven Welch says he and his wife have been camping for 15 years.

”We’ve been in several different campgrounds and of course you have to watch, there’s always safety issues,” Steven Welch said.

Some include backing into spots your unfamiliar with and fall hazards.

”What we usually do is walk our site first and remove any hazards that we think may be nearby,” Welch said.

”We want everybody to have the best time while they’re visiting Branson so these rules are always for their protection as well as our protection,” said Bailey.

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