When parents drop children off at daycare, parents expect that children are being properly supervised and cared for. Unfortunately, thousands of children are injured each year at daycare centers across the country. When injuries occur, it can be frightening and parents may wish to immediately seek compensation for medical treatment and other expenses. However, there are certain factors which should be taken into consideration before pursuing a lawsuit for daycare injuries.
When a child is injured at daycare, parents should be notified immediately. If necessary, medical treatment should be sought. If the cause of injuries can be corrected, the daycare should take action as soon as possible to prevent future injuries. Daycare centers are held responsible for taking reasonable precautions to prevent children from becoming injured. Failure to keep children safe may result in a lawsuit against the daycare center.
If injuries were caused by normal childhood play, it is generally not considered to be the fault of the daycare. When one child injures another child, it is usually considered normal childhood play, and the daycare center is generally not held liable. The verdicts in these cases may vary widely, as there are many factors that may come into consideration. For example, running may be considered normal childhood play. However, if a child falls while running and is severely injured due to a surface that is abnormally slick or wet, the daycare may be held liable.
Daycare Negligence Orlando
Daycare centers are required to remove hazards, provide adequate supervision, and stock supplies that may be needed in an emergency. If a daycare center fails to complete any of these requirements, the daycare center may be liable for resulting injuries. Parents can help to avoid daycare injuries by screening daycares before enrolling children.
Questions that parents should ask daycares prior to enrolling children include:
- What is the caregiver to staff ratio?
- What first aid materials are present?
- What is the emergency protocol?
- Are there safeguards to prevent wandering?
- What safety standards are in place?
- Are children supervised at all times, or are restroom visits unsupervised? (Many young children have been injured while unsupervised in the bathroom)
- What hiring standards are in place?
Proving Daycare Negligence
As with most types of professional negligence, daycare injury lawsuits are based on a duty of care breach. Parents must show that the daycare owed the child a duty of care based on a contract or agreement, that duty was breached, and the breach of duty caused injury to the child. Attorneys that are experienced with daycare injury lawsuits can provide advice for compiling supporting evidence. Documentation may include the daycare agreement, medical records from the facility that treated injuries, and photographs of injuries.
Product Liability Causation
Although most daycare injury lawsuits are filed due to suspected negligence on the part of daycare staff or management, some daycare injuries may be caused by defective products or equipment. Many children become injured by playground equipment or toys. While a lack of supervision is often at the root of these injuries, some are caused by malfunctioning or poorly made products. An attorney can help victims to determine whether an injury was caused by a product malfunction and can assist victims in obtaining expert testimony and documentation to support the claim.
Daycare Injury Lawsuits and Settlements
Daycare injury lawsuits hurt the reputation and business of daycare centers, so many daycare centers attempt to settle with the families of injured children to avoid a lawsuit. Settlements are typically paid by the daycare center’s insurance carriers. It is important to have an experienced daycare injury lawyer review the terms of the settlement prior to acceptance. The language used in daycare injury settlements may cause parents of injured children to unwittingly waive certain rights. Settlement amounts may also be unsatisfactory in some cases. If parents wish to file a lawsuit after refusing a settlement, it is important to file within the timeframe of the state’s statute of limitations laws.
“An Agenda to Prevent Injuries and Promote the Safety of Children and Adolescents in the United States.” National Action Plan for Child Injury Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 1 Jan. 2012. Web. 6 Oct. 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/safechild/pdf/National_Action_Plan_for_Child_Injury_Prevention.pdf>
Mack, M., S. Hudson, and D. Thompson. “A Descriptive Analysis of Children’s Playground Injuries in the United States 1990-4.” Injury Prevention 3.2 (1997): 100-03. National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Web. 6 Oct. 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1067789/>
NEISS Coding Manual. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 6 Oct. 2014. <http://www.cpsc.gov//Global/Neiss_prod/completemanual .pdf>
Tinsworth, Deborah, and Joyce McDonald. “Special Study: Injuries and Deaths Associated with Children’s Playground Equipment.” Consumer Product Safety Commission. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 1 Apr. 2001. Web. 6 Oct. 2014. <http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/108601/playgrnd.pdf>