Kids sometimes get hurt in the mere act of being kids, and there are times when that’s unavoidable.
There are also times when kids get seriously injured as a result of out and out negligence on the behalf of a daycare provider. When that happens, the parents may sue for compensation on behalf of the child.
Here’s what you need to know.
What counts as negligent behavior in a daycare?
A daycare is negligent any time they are failing to provide the necessary degree of care for a given situation.
Examples could include:
- The premises has been kept in unsafe or unacceptable condition, including playground equipment or toys that are in poor repair, a failure to adhere to health, safety, or cleaning standards, or other maintenance issues.
- A failure to adequately supervise children under the care of the daycare provider.
- Members of the staff are abusing children physically, emotionally, or sexually.
- Staff members withhold food, water, or medication from children, or fail to provide these items on time or on schedule.
- Children who are denied access to the restroom.
- Staff members fail to change children’s diapers on time.
- Inadequate security which allows children to leave the premises unsupervised, or allows unsupervised adults access to the premises or children.
You can sue for negligent behavior even in cases where the perpetrator of the injury was another child. For example, a recent case involved a 1-year-old who was bitten, scratched, and hit several times by a 5 year old. This happened because there was no daycare employee around to put a stop to the incident.
There was another recent incident where in a 2-year old was left completely alone in a daycare.
Does it matter if the daycare made me sign a waiver?
Daycare providers usually try to make parents sign a liability waiver to try to limit their ability to seek compensation. In reality, this is more of an intimidation tactic than a real legal shield.
Usually a good personal injury lawyer can tear those waivers to shreds. The parent has no right to sign away a child’s right to injury compensation. Daycare providers cannot use a piece of paper to avoid liability if they fail in their responsibilities.
What should you do if your child is hurt at daycare?
Obviously seeking medical attention should be your very first concern. Tell your doctor or the ER personnel that your child was injured at daycare.
If there are signs that your child was physically or sexually abused, the doctor will notify the authorities.
You should also take pictures. This might feel ghoulish and a bit like a punch to the gut, but you still need to preserve as much evidence as possible.
Preserve the clothes your child wore during the incident. Don’t wash them. Take photos, then place them in a labeled plastic bag. Even your child’s clothing serves as evidence in your daycare abuse case.
If there are witnesses, gather their names and numbers.
Gather any additional evidence you can think of.
This is a case where you really are going to want to contact an attorney on the same day the incident happened, if possible. The faster you move, the better. While there’s no time limit to report abuse if the victim was under 11 at the time it occurred and your child has until age 28 to file charges, the truth is that evidence and witnesses will tend to disappear as time goes on. If the injury was the result of a bonafide accident the child has up to three years after they turn 18 to take legal action, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to wait.
If your child was injured at a New York public school then you will only have 90 days to file a Notice of Claim.
For example, if the daycare has cameras on the premises you’re going to want your lawyer to move quickly to obtain that footage before it can be erased.
Finally, you should save bills and receipts for any expenses associated with the accidents, including medical bills, prescription bills, and even mileage and parking fees incurred while taking your child to necessary appointments. You should also make detailed notes about how the aftermath of the incident has impacted your child, such as behavioral changes, inability to participate in certain activities, behavioral regressions, and more. This information is vital as your attorney works to prove pain and suffering in your child’s case.
How do daycare abuse cases get compensated?
Compensation for medical expenses and equipment will generally be compensated right away. This includes compensation for counseling or mental health care associated with the abuse.
Pain and suffering damages, as well as reduced future earning capacity damages, are usually placed into a trust account. The money will go to your child once they turn 18.
Get Help Today
Daycare cases can be complex and emotionally taxing. Don’t try to deal with them alone.
Instead, reach out to our office to schedule a free case review today.