Daycare Injury Lawyer
You trust daycares to supervise your child and ensure that they are not harmed, but daycare accidents are an unfortunate reality of our modern world. Children can be injured due to daycare negligence, which leaves parents worrying about how to pay for medical bills.
An injury lawyer familiar with daycare accidents can help your family recover from the financial costs of these devastating events. A successful daycare accident claim provides money for hospital bills, follow-up care, and compensation for other losses. Certain claims may also provide for the pain and suffering experienced by the child and the mental anguish experienced by all. In certain cases, you may be able to receive compensation if a child needs psychological counseling following a traumatic event.
Determining the best legal strategies for obtaining the appropriate forms of compensation for your case requires the guidance of an experienced daycare accident attorney. Daycare centers can make proving your case difficult without an attorney, especially if the center is part of a larger corporation or franchise operation.
If your child has been hurt, remember that you have the right to ask questions and pursue a claim — up to the point of filing a lawsuit, if necessary. The accident and injury lawyers at Auger & Auger want to provide a daycare injury attorney who can help your case have the maximum chances of success.
Speak to a daycare accident lawyer for free during an initial case review. You can schedule your appointment by calling (855) 969-5671 or using our quick form to contact us online.
Proving Negligence After a Daycare Incident
Children can get hurt. It’s a fact of life. However, in some cases, injuries are not the result of “kids being kids” but rather, child care facilities neglecting their duty of care to maintain a safe environment.
Proving that a daycare center was negligent is not always easy, especially since the center may obscure information or prevent access to things like employee rosters.
The services of a child care accident lawyer can be invaluable in these situations. Your attorney uses their familiarity with the law and past cases to find common indicators of negligence. They also seek evidence to back up the claim, proving that the child’s injury directly resulted from a negligent act.
All daycare negligence claims contain the following elements:
Duty of Care
A daycare center has a duty of care to protect children against “foreseeable” hazards to the extent that any “reasonable person” could. Much of this duty is enforced through state and federal laws. In North Carolina, a child care facility must abide by specific design standards, safety rules, instructor-to-child ratios, and more. Maintaining certification is often a rigorous process, and those centers that have a record of violations are more likely to be considered to be acting contrary to their duty of care.
Breach of Duty
A breach of a duty of care occurs when a daycare facility or its employees either commit an act they know to be dangerous or omit practices in such a way as to likely cause danger. Poor supervision, unsafe playground designs, and non-compliance with industry regulations represent a breach of duty.
It is not enough to know that an injury occurred following a breach in the child care center’s duties. The injury must be directly attributable to the breach, showing causality.
Another important component of child care injury cases is proving that the injury incident was not a “freak accident” or anomaly. Daycare centers may not be held responsible for injuries stemming from a chain of events they can claim no “reasonable person” would ever predict. A child care injury lawyer must prove that the facility either had knowledge of the risk or could have known of its existence had they operated under the “reasonable” standard.
Proof and Evidence
Allegations of an injury or a breach in duty are not enough. Parents need documented evidence of the injury and some form of proof that a breach took place. Most importantly, there must be testimony from an expert that no “reasonable” facility would have allowed the event to happen or that the facility in question directly knew about the risks.
Common Injuries at Daycare Centers
Severe injuries can occur at a childcare center for many reasons, including:
- Swallowing and choking incidents
- Crushed hands or fingers in doors
- Ingesting poisons
- Unsafe equipment or activities
- Severe allergic reactions
- Bathroom accidents
- Fights and dangerous play
Situations That May Put Children at Risk
Kids can get hurt in a wide variety of ways at a daycare center, but there are several common categories of injuries that occur:
- Playground injuries. Yes, it’s a normal part of childhood to scrape a knee falling off the jungle gym. But unfortunately, sometimes much more serious injuries can happen too, including head injuries, broken bones, deep lacerations, or even internal injuries. In some cases, these occur because of a lack of supervision. If there aren’t enough instructors to watch kids on the playground, children may start breaking rules and engaging in dangerous behavior. In other situations, they can be hurt simply because the playground equipment wasn’t maintained or wasn’t blocked off if it wasn’t in usable condition. For example, if everyone noticed a chain on a swing set was rusted and coming loose, but no one at the daycare addressed the problem, the chain could snap, causing a child to fall to the ground and get hurt.
- Slip and falls. Daycare centers need to take precautions to prevent children from slipping or tripping on the floors. If a hazard like a spilled drink or even a discarded object was left unattended, it could cause a child to fall and be injured.
- Sports or outdoor injuries. Daycare centers must maintain sporting equipment used, ensure children wear safety equipment as indicated, and keep all items used in good condition. If these things don’t happen, a child could be at increased risk of serious injury. Daycare workers should also ensure kids stay hydrated when exercising or playing outdoors in the heat, and be aware of the signs of heat stress in children, so they can help any child who needs medical attention immediately.
- Bus or transportation injuries. If your daycare sometimes transports the kids from one place to another, they need appropriate seating for each child. Sometimes issues arise if the daycare puts a child in a car seat that isn’t right for their age and/or weight. Or they may fail to ensure all car seats are correctly installed, and the child is buckled in safely. Unfortunately, these errors can put a child at risk of serious injury in an accident.
- Exposure to poison or toxic chemicals. Daycares need to keep track of any potentially toxic products used to clean the facility. Yes, hygiene is important, especially today, but if a bottle of a corrosive cleaning chemical is left in reach of young children, they could be seriously injured.
- Food safety issues. There are many possible problems here. Failure to maintain safe kitchen practices can lead to food poisoning. Most daycares are nut-free due to food allergies, but children allergic to less common allergens may still be at risk if the facility doesn’t take appropriate precautions. Even if the food is safe, children still need proper supervision when eating, and workers should be trained on what to do if a child starts choking. Most choking incidents can be resolved if someone takes quick action to help the child. But if no one is watching or workers don’t know what to do, the child could be in serious danger. Daycares can also reduce the risk of choking by serving foods cut into smaller pieces. Food aside, kids can also choke on small toys or other objects, so daycares need to be careful that younger children don’t play with small toys that pose a choking hazard.
- Child behavioral issues. All kids act out from time to time. With parental guidance and discipline, most children learn to do better. But sometimes, a child will have long-term behavioral issues. This may be a problem if that child is in daycare and acts out in a way that could be harmful to other children, the daycare is aware of the child’s difficulties, and the staff does nothing to protect the other kids. Sometimes clients tell us another kid had repeatedly hit or bullied their child, and despite complaints to the daycare staff, nothing was done about it. Later, another incident happened, and their child was seriously hurt. Daycare workers should be trained to spot aggressive behavior and act to separate the child from their victim to prevent injury.
- Lack of training for assisting special needs children. In some cases, a child may be injured because a daycare worker isn’t properly trained to address the child’s special needs. For example, a minor with certain developmental delays may require more supervision than other children their age. An untrained worker may assume they don’t need close monitoring due to their age or size, and the child could be hurt. In other situations, a child may need medication or other medical interventions that the parents have explained to the school. Sometimes a problem arises where the worker who typically cares for the child’s medical needs takes time off, and a new worker with less training takes over. If they haven’t had the proper training, they may inadvertently make a mistake that harms the child.
These are just some incidents that could lead to a child being hurt in a daycare. If your child has been injured at a childcare facility and you’re unsure if the facility is at fault, we encourage you to speak with a daycare injury lawyer to learn what options might be available.
A Liability Waiver Doesn’t Always Mean You Can’t Sue
Many parents feel deterred from taking legal action against a child care facility because they signed a waiver before their child was allowed to attend. In truth, many of these waivers get ruled unenforceable in courts because they give up too many rights, and parents may not be aware of what they are being asked to sign.
Some cases are made more difficult by the presence of a waiver, but parents owe it to themselves and their child to at least explore their options for obtaining fair compensation. Speaking with a daycare accident lawyer can reveal all available legal options for moving forward, with or without the presence of an existing waiver agreement.
Be Wary of Dealing Just With Daycare Attorneys and Insurers
Attorneys and insurance companies representing the daycare facility have their client’s best interests in mind, not yours. Parents may be shocked to receive an initial settlement offer made to put their claim to rest. This offer will likely not contain the full amount of available damages, past, and future, that can compensate the parent(s) for all of their financial and non-financial losses.
Furthermore, accepting an initial settlement does nothing to deter the negligent practices that allowed the child to become injured in the first place. Facilities that engage in negligent acts — or ongoing negligent practices — deserve scrutiny. By evaluating their practices in the course of pursuing a child care injury claim, parents can reveal violations and help promote enforcement of state and federal laws.
Having a daycare injury lawyer also prevents you from accepting misleading information at face value. You may be told you have no case, that a child’s injuries were their own fault, that the treatment for the injury wasn’t all “necessary,” and so forth. Your lawyer will build a strong case to counter these claims and seek to back all of your assertions with the available evidence.
Speak to a Daycare Accident Attorney Who Cares
Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers know the stress that a childcare injury can put your family through, and we want to help. Our main goal is to reduce the workload placed on you to prove your claim while building the most robust case possible that seeks the maximum compensation available.
If you have experienced a recent daycare accident injury in your family, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and defend your legal rights. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today when you call (855) 969-5671 or contact us online.