What are My Rights if My Child is Injured at Daycare?
Call (800)-863-5312 To Speak with an Experienced Daycare Injury Attorney for Free
Many parents entrust their children to daycare in the United States each year. Parents assume and expect their child’s highest safety while at daycare. Thus, when a child is injured at daycare it is a troubling and traumatic event.
The medical costs for the treatment of your child’s injuries may be expensive and unexpected.
Therefore, the parents of an injured child at daycare may seek compensation against the daycare facility for their child’s injuries. The daycare, as well as their personnel and other third parties, may be held liable for the injuries.
Consulting an experienced daycare injury lawyer can go a long way in helping protect your child. At Zinda Law Group, we may be able to help you seek monetary compensation for your child’s daycare injuries. Call us today at (800)-863-5312 for a FREE consultation with a daycare injury attorney near you.
What are Your Rights?
Despite language in your daycare contract, as a parent or legal guardian, you may be entitled to sue the daycare facility for your child’s injuries.
Many daycare centers have parents sign a no liability clause in their daycare contract or agreement. Daycare facilities do this to try to convince parents that the daycare facility can not be sued for injuries to the children in their care. While this may seem as though they are indemnified, it does not legally excuse the daycare center from keeping your child safe or from having to act carefully, and importantly, it does not prevent you (the parent) from suing the daycare.
The no liability clause usually exists to confuse the parent into thinking they cannot sue for their child's injuries. The courts see through this, and may not allow daycares to be released from responsibility for the reasonable safety of the children in their care.
While you should report any injury or abuse to the police if you suspect wrongdoing at the daycare, as a parent, you may also bring a civil lawsuit for monetary damages against the daycare or other liable parties.
Therefore, as a parent you have the right to bring a lawsuit against the daycare where your child sustained an injury.
Making a Claim on Behalf of Your Child
Recognizing that young children cannot sue on their own behalf, the court system allows a parent to sue the daycare on behalf of the child. The courts allow the parent or guardian to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the child under the “next friend” rule, which allows minors to be represented by their parent or legal guardian.
Therefore, as a parent, you may retain a lawyer for your child, and any monetary compensation awarded to your child is safely kept in a special a bank account or trust until your child reaches age 18. Of course, some of the money may be used for care and treatment of the child relating to the incident.
Here are important steps to follow if your child has been injured at daycare:
1. Document Your Child’s Injury
As a parent, you should pay close attention to your child in order to be able to recognize when your child has been injured at daycare, as many children may not be able to fully communicate their injury. Take detailed and dated notes, and file a police report if applicable. Police reports can act as an objective note of the incident, and if you suspect any criminal behavior on behalf of the daycare, this can initiate a criminal investigation in addition to your civil lawsuit against the daycare.
Notes are important, as children may not be able to fully communicate what happened to them, or what trauma they are experiencing. It is important, therefore, as a parent to talk with your child and take detailed notes of what your child says they experienced at daycare, as well as any resulting physical, emotional, or psychological discomfort.
2. Get Medical Treatment for Your Child
As soon as you realize your child has been injured, you should seek immediate expert medical attention and treatment. Immediate medical attention may help mitigate damage to your child. As medical costs can be high, you should keep all of your medical bills, and keep all of your receipts associated with seeking care for your child, including gas for travel, mileage on your vehicle, and any other incidental costs incurred while helping your child.
Your attorney may later use these receipts and detailed notes in seeking the highest monetary compensation from the at-fault daycare and insurance companies.
3. Consult an Experienced Daycare Injury Attorney
An experienced daycare injury attorney can help you seek the highest monetary compensation from at-fault parties and insurance companies, as well as help you locate expert child injury doctors. Further, your attorney can help educate you of your legal rights, legal time periods, as well as seek and compile evidence in proving the fault of the daycare, and file a claim on your behalf. In some cases, the evidence an experienced attorney gets through in-depth investigations can be so strong that the daycare and insurance companies may seek a timely settlement in order to avoid a loss at trial and extended legal costs.
An experienced daycare injury attorney can also help calculate the child’s highest monetary damages including medical costs and treatments, therapies necessary in recovering, as well as pain and suffering of the child. A daycare injury attorney can help compile specific evidence in proving the negligence of the daycare facility and their staff, ultimately helping to uncover facts and circumstances surrounding the daycare injury.
Who Can I Sue?
If a daycare acts negligently (unreasonably), and therefore does not take proper safe care of your child, you may bring a claim against them for your child’s injuries. If the daycare personnel does not keep your child safe you can likely sue the daycare itself, the employees of the daycare facility, and potentially another third party, such as the family of another child that caused your child’s injury.
Typically, the daycare may be liable if they acted unreasonably, or in legal terms, negligent. Negligence occurs when the daycare does not act as expected, and this deviation from normal, expected childcare causes your child’s injury.
Once the daycare takes your child into their care, they usually owe the child a legal duty to act reasonably safe. Therefore, the party that is most commonly liable in a daycare injury claim is the daycare facility.
If there are other parties at fault, such as personnel of the daycare facility, another child, or any other third party, they may also be sued in the lawsuit for your child's injuries. Your experienced daycare injury attorney can advise you of which parties to sue based on the facts, circumstances, and evidence in your case.
“Next Friend” Rule
The court system allows for a minor to be represented in court by a legally competent party whose interests align with the minor. Most commonly in daycare injury lawsuits, the parent or legal guardian may act as the “next friend” of the minor child in court, in order to sue the daycare and various other liable parties for your child’s damages.
Child Injury Compensation
Personal injury compensation for children is similar to other personal injury claims. The monetary damages that may be sought include any medical bills and costs associated with the treatment and recovery of your child’s injuries. This includes costs for medical visits, treatments, and medications, as well as therapy and counseling sessions.
Compensation may also be sought for the pain and suffering of the child. This includes physical pain associated with the injury and medical treatments, as well as emotional and psychological trauma such as fear, stress, anxiety, nightmares and the like, experienced because of the daycare incident.
Keep a detailed and dated log of any injuries and discomfort your child experiences - whether physical, emotional, or psychological. These detailed notes help serve as evidence to demonstrate the extent of your child’s injuries.
When a child is awarded damages, the court usually appoints an interest-bearing bank account or a trust for the child. Thus, any monetary compensation the child is awarded for their damages and injuries arising from the claim is kept for them until they turn 18, at which point they may have full access to the money. Generally, some money may also be allocated for the use of the parent or guardian in the care of the minor child.
Before the child turns 18, some of the funds awarded may typically be used for specific purposes related to the accident at the daycare. These may include the child’s medical treatment, therapy, and counseling, and the like. The important thing is the money is safely kept for the child’s benefit.
Common Causes of Child Injuries
Some of the most common injuries that occur to children at daycare include:
- Falling (such as falling off playground equipment)
- Bumping head-on desks, doors, or other equipment
- Jamming fingers in drawers or doors
- Malfunctioning playground equipment
- Consuming dangerous or poisonous materials
- Injuries inflicted by another child
- Abuse from daycare staff
Many times the injuries occur due to:
- Negligence of daycare staff
- Improper supervision
- Unsanitary daycare facility
- Violation of daycare safety code
- Acts of other children
Legal Time Limits
It is important to quickly initiate your claim against the daycare facility, as there are legal time limits, after such, your claim may be prevented. The legal time limit, which starts from the date of the injury of your child at daycare, depends on the state but is commonly two years. After the time limit elapses, you may be prevented from bringing a lawsuit against the daycare or other guilty parties for your child’s injury.
Because the child was a legal minor at the time of the incident (under age 18), some states allow the child to bring the daycare injury lawsuit for two years upon turning 18 years old.
As evidence may dwindle, expire, or become unavailable over time, witnesses may become harder to find, and memory is less reliable, it is important to consult with an experienced daycare injury attorney immediately after your child’s injury. Your attorney can help you learn your legal rights, as well as begin to compile and preserve crucial evidence in your claim.
Thus, it is advisable not to wait to bring a claim so as not to miss the legal time limit for the daycare injury claim, and to help build the strongest case against the daycare for your child’s injuries.
ZINDA LAW GROUP CAN HELP!
At Zinda Law Group we have experienced and highly compassionate daycare injury attorneys who can help. We understand that injuries to your child can be traumatic, and the daycare should be held accountable for their failure to keep your child safe.
Our attorneys are experienced at conducting in-depth investigations to help uncover what happened at the daycare. We strive to help parents protect their children and help you build a strong case.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.