When you take your child to day care, you expect that he or she will be kept safe. You trust that the workers are well trained and knowledgeable when it comes to caring for children. Unfortunately, things happen everyday that leave parents wondering if they made the right decision when it came to child care. Accidents often have parents questioning whether or not they should call an attorney.
Before you make the choice to sue a day care for compensation, you need to understand exactly what constitutes negligence. If your child is injured at day care, here are a few things to consider before you reach out to a lawyer.
When you drop your child off at day care, the workers have a duty to provide adequate care. If the staff fails to provide that care to a reasonable standard. Violations that can be considered negligence include:
1. Failing to supervise
2. Failure to maintain safe premises
3. Committing a crime
While negligence can be something fairly easy to prove when you are pointing the finger at an adult worker, it can be another story if your child was injured by another little one. To be able to hold a child at fault, you must be able to prove that the child did not act reasonably or as another similarly age child would have acted.
Your child does not necessarily have had to suffer physical injuries. Emotional distress or injury that is severe may also be grounds for a successful suit. If the act of a staff member was so outrageous that your child suffers emotional distress, you may still have grounds for a suit.
In plain English: Your child’s injury must have been the result of some type of failure or intentional act on the part of a staff member. Simply falling and bumping a knee is not grounds for a personal injury suit. Falling off of a slide and breaking a limb because no one was watching is. If you are unsure if your child is due compensation for his or her injuries, reach out to our offices today.
Our personal injury lawyers are experienced in day care injury in North Carolina. We will review the details of your case at non cost to you and advise you how to proceed. Reach out to us today for more information.
You take your children to daycare with the assumption that they will be safe. You researched the facility or provider, you interviewed employees, and you checked up with references. You did everything right.
Despite your best intentions and those of the daycare staff, accidents do happen. Your ability to receive compensation for injuries received by your child at daycare is not limited by someone’s intent. Here are five of the most common daycare dangers to be aware of.
It is not unusual for daycare providers to use slow cookers instead of traditional bottle warmers. This is because a slow cooker can warm several bottles at one time. Slow cooker burns most often occur when a child pulls the cooker off of a counter, or a worker is moving the cooker and trips over a child.
Falling objects like bookcases and shelving units are common causes of injury in the daycare setting. Accidents occur when children attempt to climb these bookcases or the bookcases are unstable. Securing shelving units to the wall behind them can help prevent these accidents.
Have you ever slammed your finger in a car door? That same type of accident often occurs in daycares. Small children get their fingers pinched in doors and cabinets frequently. Automatic door closers can help prevent these injuries that, at times, require the amputation of fingers when severe.
Children left in vehicles often suffer hyperthermia, or excessive body temperature. If there are vehicles on the daycare’s property, they should be kept locked at all times. If the daycare provides transportation services, be sure that head counts are conducted upon entering and exiting the vehicle.
These cribs are thought to be perhaps the most dangerous on today’s market. Not only are there dangerous gaps, but the drop-side can detach from the upper corner, leaving space for a child’s head to be caught. Make sure that the cribs in use by the daycare facility you choose are not part of one of the many recalls for this type of furniture.
We hear horror stories about children being injured at the hands of daycare workers with cruel intentions. The truth is that the majority of daycare workers have children’s best interests in mind. Accidents, however, do happen.
If your child has been injured at daycare, reach out to our caring attorneys today. Our team is here to get you the compensation that you and your family deserve. Call us today for a free consultation.
At times, toys pose a threat due to recalls, at other times, injuries occur due to a lack of supervision or misuse. Here are 10 tips that will help you keep your kids safe, no matter what toys they have received this season.
1. Pay Attention to Age Recommendations
People typically pay attention to age recommendations when buying toys for children, but it never hurts to double-check the package after it has been opened. If the toy your child receives is labeled for children who are older, put the toy away and bring it out when your child is old enough.
2. Plastic Wrap
Do not be tempted to toss plastic wrap on a table or, worse, the floor. Children may grab the wrap without your notice, posing a very real health hazard. Always discard plastic wrap immediately.
3. Non-Toxic for Little Ones
Babies and young toddlers explore the world with their mouths. Make sure that toys are labeled as non-toxic before handing them over to these little ones.
4. Inspect for Small Parts
Until your children are old enough to avoid the temptation to put small objects in their mouths, ears or noses, inspect all toys for small parts. These things can be choking hazards and should be removed.
5. Sharp Edges
Inspect toys for sharp edges, poking tags, or wires. These objects can scratch and cut children and should be cut off. If they are not removable, do not give the toy to your child.
6. Remove Strings
Unfortunately, some toys are made with long strings, cords, or ribbons. These can pose a danger to young children who can get tangled in the cords. Only allow your child to play with these toys under your supervision.
7. Throw Away Broken Toys
Be sure to inspect your child’s toys periodically. Any toy that is broken or in ill-repair should be thrown away.
Even the safest toys can pose a threat if they are not played with as they were designed to be. Always supervise children, especially young ones, when they are at play to prevent injury.
9. Keep a Toy Box
Teach your older children to put their toys away when they are done playing. Put your little one’s toys away yourself when they are not in use. This can prevent accidental trips and falls.
10. Teach Older Children
If you have both older and younger children in your home, teach the older kids to put their toys away and out of reach of their young siblings.
Toy safety is not something that parents think about frequently. Unfortunately, children are injured every day due to improper play or faulty toys. If you believe that your child has been injured by a toy through no fault of their own, or yours, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Auger & Auger today!
Four month old Logan Bryant died at a Chesterbrook Academy Dare Care center last year, and parents are now suing the Day Care and charges of neglect are being pressed upon the day care workers.
Video cameras at the day care center show Shanita Wright, one of the day care staff charged with neglect, placing Logan in a crib on his stomach to sleep, which is a violation of state safe-sleep rules. When Wright left for a lunch break, Stephanie Johnson began supervising Logan and 5 other children.
Johnson placed a washcloth over the face down baby’s head, violating another state rule, and left for another room to watch 5 other babies. The recording then shows Johnson proceed to use her cellphone and FALL ASLEEP, failing to check on the infant at all during the next hour. During the hour that Logan was face down alone in his crib, he died. At 2:30 pm, an hour after he was placed in the crib, another worker came to check on Logan, finding him with no pulse and unresponsive.
The chief Mecklenburg medical examiner, Thomas Owens, examined the body, and estimated the cause of death to be Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, otherwise known as SIDS. Researchers and medical examiners across the country have stopped calling these unexplained deaths SIDS, because in two thirds of SIDS cases, autopsies link a possibility of suffocation, which infants are especially vulnerable to whilst on their backs. According the North Carolina Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Deborah Radisch, deaths should only be attributed to SIDS “if all investigative findings and risk factors are negative.” In a letter to the Bryant family, Owens wrote “I am at least 75% sure of the diagnosis.” and that he had ruled out any other reasonable explanations.
Also, Logan was found with vomit in his throat and mouth, and Owens says that the death was likely not caused by suffocation on the vomit and that the fluids are part of the dying process: “I cannot prove nor do I believe that he smothered/suffocated in the mattress of that he choked on vomit.”
Owens also claims that the washcloth placed on the back of Logan’s head, although against state rules, “likely had little to no impact on the situation.”
Even though the medical examiner claims to be75% sure of his diagnosis, it will be up to a jury to decide whether the daycare’s negligence was the cause of baby Logan’s death.
Find out more about preventing daycare injuries at http://www.augerlaw.com/north-carolina-day-care-injuries-attorney/ NC Daycare injury lawyers fighting for the rights of children and their families.
As a parent, you place a lot of time and effort in choosing the right day care center for your kids, and you hope your decision on which center to choose is the right one. Four Charlotte families may be rethinking the day care center they had entrusted with their children after a fire destroyed a local home that also serves as a day care center in North Charlotte. The rules for home day care centers are not the same as for other child care facilities. According to DHHS, this particular home daycare was license and was operating in accordance with the number of children allowed. This fire was ruled an accident, and seems to have started from some disposed charcoal in the back of the home. All four children and one adult escaped safely without injury.
No parent wants to receive the phone call in which they learn their child’s safety was compromised by the facility they trusted. Everyone in the day care center is lucky to have walked away from the blaze unharmed. Under NC law, the staff to child ratio for in-home child care is much more restrictive than the ratio required for an independent child care facility. For example, for an in-home daycare, there cannot be more than 5 participants who are of pre-school age, and that includes the pre-school age children of the owner/operator.
What should you do, as a parent, if you learn your child was injured at day care? In this case, the fire seems to have started due to negligence. If a child had been injured, his or her parents or guardian could file a civil suit against the homeowner for negligently disposing of the hot charcoal that caused the fire. In the event of a wrongful death, you may have to take the painful step of filing a wrongful death suit against the responsible party, even if your child’s death was an accident. This can be an excruciating and awkward experience, but a necessary one in order to pay for medical bills and funeral expenses.
North Carolina’s Department of Social Services inspects each licensed day care center multiple times a year. If your child was injured at a day care center that has prior, unresolved citations, this may strengthen your case. Every case involves a different set of circumstances, but it is important that you, as the parent, are aware of your child’s rights under North Carolina law. At Auger & Auger we urge you to be extremely thorough when choosing the right day care center for your child or toddler. Do not hesitate to inquire about staff history and always take a look at the center’s license. North Carolina keeps updated records on all licensed facilities, so call the DSS or look up a possible facility online to check out its rating. In the event that tragedy does strike, call us today to speak with a seasoned attorney about your child’s injury.
Parents place an amazing level of trust in day care providers. The realities of modern life require many families to seek out day care just so they can make a living. By and large, most day care facilities are caring and supportive places for a child to learn basic skills. However, there are times when a bad worker or even a bad facility slips through the cracks.
In Union County, a DSS supervisor was fired after it was found that she had abused an 11-year-old boy. She had handcuffed the boy by his ankle to her front porch and hung a dead chicken around his neck. A sheriff’s deputy found the boy in this condition and took care of the situation. Police also charged the partner of the DSS supervisor, who was not at home when the boy was discovered. According to the termination letter, the charges were:
Such stories are shocking, and parents will demand answers from the state and from the woman as to how this could ever happen. The parents of this child and the other children in the care of this woman may choose to file a civil suit because of the injuries their children received. No parent should have to tolerate seeing their child injured by someone they trusted. Call Auger & Auger if you need to file a daycare injury lawsuit. We can help bring you justice.
North Carolina requires visits and inspections of its child care facilities, but regular inspections do not always guarantee a safe facility. A daycare in a neighboring state was forced to close earlier this month after a bookshelf fell on top of a little boy and broke his neck. The daycare had passed a surprise inspection as recently as February, but was previously cited for having too many infants and not enough day care personnel in January of 2012.
North Carolina law requires child care facilities to provide indoor area equipment and furnishings that are child size, sturdy, safe, and in good repair. North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services provides parents with an Environment Rating Scale that measures the quality of care provided at child care facilities. Evaluators assess a range of factors like hand-washing at regular intervals and the safety of the classroom area. Adequate supervision is also required, and North Carolina has determined the appropriate ratios of care-givers to children based on their age.
These statutory requirements and agency guidelines reflect the duty the state places upon day care providers to ensure a safe environment while watching other people’s children. When a day care provider fails in their duty to provide a safe environment, and the failure results in an injury or death, they are responsible for the damages that arise from the injury or death. Damages can include past, present, and future medical expenses, emotional distress, or lost wages. To obtain this needed compensation, the injured child and family may look to North Carolina’s guidelines and regulations for daycares as proof of the specific expectations placed upon facilities.
However, statutory requirements and guidelines for safety standards have previously been used by defendants to shield themselves from liability. In Davis v. Cumberland County Bd. of Education, 720 S.E.2d 418 (2011), the appellate court affirmed a lower court’s ruling in favor of the school board. The injured plaintiff was a six-year old boy who fell through wet bleachers and fractured his skull, causing permanent damage to his head. The school board was sued by the injured boy who alleged that they failed in their duty to keep the bleachers reasonably safe. The school board provided an affidavit from an engineer that affirmed the bleacher seatboards and floorboards met the Building Code requirements at the date of installation and modification. The courts looked at whether the school board, by meeting these requirements, exercised care that any reasonable school board would have exercised. The appellate court assessed that the school board’s compliance with the Building Code was evidence of due care, although not conclusive of the issue. Ultimately, the appellate court agreed that the school board exercised reasonable care and prevented the injured boy from pursuing his case against the school board.
The experienced North Carolina day care injury attorneys at Auger & Auger have worked tirelessly for their clients so they receive maximum compensation for injuries obtained in child care. They have analyzed all daycare statutory requirements and guidelines to hold negligent facilities accountable for the harm caused to children. If you would like to speak with one of the seasoned litigators, call the office for a free consultation at 888-487-0835.
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An in-home childcare provider was recently arrested for selling prescription medication to an undercover officer out of the same home she used to care for children. She is charged with trafficking in opium and selling a controlled substance at a childcare facility. This incident occurred soon after the North Carolina statute went into effect at the beginning of 2013 expanding the criminal background check requirement for daycare workers. A person working at a daycare must complete a criminal background check in order to work at a daycare, and will now be subject to a background check every three years to ensure that he or she has not obtained any new criminal charges that could make them unfit for child care. An in home child care provider must also have members of their household over 15 checked.
In North Carolina a person cannot run or work in a daycare if they have been convicted of any charge of neglect or abuse of children. They also cannot work there if they have been convicted of a sexually violent offense against a minor, also known as a reportable conviction. However, North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services does not completely prohibit workers with a criminal background. An individual may be prevented from being a child care provider if the Department determines that the individual is a habitually excessive user of alcohol, illegally uses narcotic or other impairing drugs, or is mentally or emotionally impaired to an extent that may be injurious to children. It is particularly egregious if the employer lied on a background check or withheld information about themselves or a potential hire. The primary focus is whether that person’s presence could affect the safety and health of the children in care.
A daycare center, regardless of whether it is a large facility or a home provider, is obligated to provide a safe environment for the child. They can be held liable in a civil action if there was gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing, but not for mere negligence if the employer or operator of a child care facility performed the statutorily required background checks. So if an employer or operator knew or should have known that their employee had a criminal background and was prone to behaviors that could endanger a child, and a child was injured because of that employee’s behaviors, then they could be found criminally and civilly liable. For example, if the recently arrested lady was an employee who was hired by a daycare operator who knew of her drug habit and hired her anyway, the owner could potentially be held liable.
The North Carolina day care injury attorneys at Auger & Auger understand that placing your child in someone else’s care is already stressful. That stress becomes tenfold if your child is injured while in the care of another. If your child was injured on the premises of a daycare and you would like a free consultation, contact us online or call us at (704) 364-3361 or (800) 559-5741.
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Renezia Fisher, age 2, who was left at Above & Beyond Child Care Center in Henderson, North Carolina, was discovered to have suffered a broken collarbone while at the facility. Local authorities and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) are investigating the circumstances.
Andrea Hawkins, the child’s mother reported the incident to Henderson Police back on October 25th because her daughter told her that she had injured her arm at day care. When Hawkins confronted an employee at Above & Beyond Child Care Center, she was told that Renezia was knocked down by another child. They said that Renezia did not complain about the incident and continued to play. No incident report was completed and Hawkins had not been previously told of the incident. It was later confirmed that the little girl had broken her collarbone in the fall.
Vance County Department of Social Services conducted an investigation and issued a statement that the injury was determined to be accidental. Above & Beyond issued no comments about the incident.
Another day care story that we wrote about on November 1, 2012, the Jessica Tata case in Houston, Texas, has ended. She was accused of murder for the deaths of four children left in her care in February 2011. Testimony was that she left children unattended while she went to shop at Target. A fire ignited from a frying pan with oil in it, which was left on a burner. The case brought day care tragedies to the forefront of national news.
On November 20, 2012, jurors sentenced the 24 year old Tata to 80 years in prison for felony murder in the death of one child. Other felony murder charges are pending for the other three children who died. It is reported that she will have to serve 30 years in prison before she is eligible for parole. She was also ordered to pay a fine of $10,000.
Unfortunately, it is stories like these that make parents fear for the safety and well-being of their children when left in a child care facility. As a parent, it is important that you do your homework to choose a child care facility that is ranked highly by the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education. Go to the facility and talk to the director to determine what their state ranking is, what training employees have had, are background checks performed on all employees and observe the staff with the children.
If you or someone you know has had a child injured, molested, kidnapped or killed while at a day care facility, you need to get in touch with a North Carolina attorney experienced in handling day care accidents.
Auger & Auger is a Charlotte, North Carolina law firm that has helped people throughout the state when their child has been somehow injured or mistreated at a day care center. Our attorneys have been practicing law for 40 years and are experienced in representing clients who have sustained serious injuries or lost loved ones.
We have three offices in Charlotte and one each in Greensboro and Raleigh.
Contact us through our website or call us direct at (800) 559-5741 toll free, to schedule a no obligation appointment to discuss your situation. There will be no fee unless we make a recovery for you.
Henderson day care under investigation after child injured, WRAL.com, Article by Beau Minnick, November 14, 2012
Jessica Tata Sentenced To 80 Years For Texas Day Care Fire , Huffington Post, Article by Juan Lozano, November 20, 2012
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The Harsh Reality of Care At Daycare Facilities , North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, August 24, 2012
Our North Carolina personal injury lawyers have been watching the Jessica Tata case in Houston, Texas with much interest. It is yet another reminder of the tragedies that can result from day care injuries. Sadly, the case involves the deaths of four children who were left in her care while their parents went to work in February 2011.
The trial of Jessica Tata, 24, began with opening statements from attorneys at the Harris County Criminal Courthouse on October 24, 2012. She is accused of murder in the deaths of four deceased children who were in her care at her Houston day care center. Tata has been accused of leaving the children unattended while she went shopping at Target. While she was away, a fire allegedly started when a frying pan with oil in it was left on the stove and ignited. The blaze reportedly caused the deaths of four children and resulted in severe injuries to three others. The ages of the seven children at her daycare ranged from sixteen months to three years old.
Tata, who was born in the United States, reportedly fled to Nigeria after the blaze, where she has citizenship. After being returned to the states in March 2011, she has been in jail on bonds exceeding $1.1 million. She faces four felony murder counts, in addition to three counts of child abandonment and two counts of reckless injury to a child.
Following the incident, state lawmakers enacted changes in the oversight of day care facilities. However, Texas, like many other states, is lagging behind in training requirements, background checks and inspection standards for home day care operations.
According to the North Carolina Child Care Resource & Referral Council, North Carolina ranked 19th in child care center licensing and oversight and 14th in family child care home licensing and oversight, among all states. Child care centers are typically larger facilities, having more experienced employees and the capacity for more children. Family child care homes are smaller day care facilities operating out of someone’s home, with fewer children.
Although child care center requirements are more stringent than those for family child care homes, both only “partially” satisfied the requirement to obtain state and federal background checks for prior criminal activity, child abuse or sex offender registries on all employees. Family child care homes were particularly delinquent in having:
No parent should ever have to ever have to face the decision Tiffany Dickerson did on February 24, 2011. She is the mother of two children who were left in the care of Jessica Tata that day. When she was notified of the tragedy, her choices were to go see her severely burned daughter in the hospital or going to the morgue to see her son.
If you or someone you know has had to face any tragedy caused by the neglect of a worker of a day care facility, it is important that you contact a North Carolina personal injury lawyer experienced in handling day care accidents and a proven record.
Auger & Auger is a Charlotte, North Carolina law firm experienced in helping people like you with their personal injury cases. We have five conveniently located offices, three in Charlotte and one each in Raleigh and Greensboro.
Contact us for your no obligation consultation. All cases are handled on a contingency basis so that you will never owe us a fee unless we make a recovery for you.
Jessica Tata Faces Trial For Fatal 2011 Houston Day Care Fire, Huffington Post, Article by Juan Lozano, October 22, 2012
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