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When children are dropped off at daycare, their parents trust that they will be well supervised and free from harm. The reality is that child abuse and neglect occur in daycares throughout the United States. If your child has suffered abuse or neglect while attending daycare, the Colorado Springs daycare injury lawyers from Zinda Law Group are here to help.
With thousands of licensed daycare facilities in the U.S., there are bound to be some bad actors who find an opportunity to abuse and harm children. According to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, there were over 3 million investigations of child abuse in 2020. Still, some people do not realize how common child abuse and neglect occur. If your child was the victim of abuse or neglect while attending daycare, call (800) 863-5312 to receive a 100% free case evaluation from a Colorado Springs daycare injury attorney today.
For a free legal consultation with a daycare injury lawyer serving Colorado Springs, call 800-863-5312
Establishing Negligence after a Daycare Incident
Even with proper precautions, children often get hurt. But when injuries are not the result of “horsing around” or “kids being kids,” someone needs to be held accountable. In cases involving child daycare facilities, the injuries suffered by children are often caused by negligence.
Whether a daycare center was acting negligently depends on the following elements:
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Duty of Care
Generally, a duty exists to take reasonable measures to prevent foreseeable harm. At daycare facilities, this duty exists and is enforced through state and federal laws. Therefore, a violation of the law suggests that the daycare may acting be acting unreasonably, or contrary to their duty of care.
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Breach of Duty
A breach of duty occurs when there is a failure to take reasonable care to avoid causing foreseeable harm. With regards to daycare accidents, a daycare facility or its employees commits a breach when they act in a way that they know to be dangerous or fail to act in a way that they know could prevent harm. Whether an act or omission was reasonable is determined by an objective test that asks what an ordinary person would do in the same circumstances.
Common considerations in determining whether actions were reasonable include:
- Balancing of risks and precautions
- Customary practices
- Age of the victim
Generally, poor supervision and non-compliance with daycare regulations suggest a breach of duty.
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In virtually all personal injury cases, there will be multiple factors that contributed to the injury. For this reason, showing that a daycare facility or its employees breached their duties is not sufficient by itself. A causal link between the acts or omissions of the daycare and the injury suffered by the child must also be established. In other words, the plaintiff must establish that the injury is attributable to the daycare’s breach of duty.
Whether the injury was foreseeable also depends on what an ordinary person should know given the circumstances. The foreseeability test asks whether the daycare or its employee who caused the injury should have reasonably foreseen the consequences of their conduct. The reason behind requiring plaintiffs to prove this element is to ensure that only accidents that could have been anticipated are punished, as opposed to “freak accidents” or anomalies.
Proof and Evidence
Ultimately, negligence claims must be supported by evidence. Claims can be proven via direct testimony and circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence refers to eyewitnesses, camera footage, objects from the scene, etc. It is often the best evidence for demonstrating the defendant’s liability. Circumstantial evidence relies on an inference to connect it to the conclusion of a fact.
The attorneys at Zinda law group are experienced in this area of law and can work with you to hold parties accountable for their negligent actions. To speak with a Colorado Springs daycare injury attorney who specializes in negligence claims, please call (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation.
Read More: What Is Negligence?
Common daycare accident injuries
When a parent’s schedule makes it difficult to pay attention to their child, they may consider daycare. It’s daunting for parents to leave their child with another person because they know that sometimes daycare employees may not treat their child exactly as they would. Even if a parent does their due diligence, researched the daycare, and made sure it was the best facility available, the child might still be injured by a simple mistake or omission by the care provider.
Here are the most common injuries sustained by children in daycare facilities:
- Bumps, bruises, or lacerations
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
Of course, there are many different injuries your child could sustain while in daycare, and this list is not exhaustive. However, knowing the common ways that children are injured at daycare may better prepare you to ask questions about the incident.
What to do immediately after a daycare accident
What you do after your child is injured depends on whether you are immediately informed of the accident. Being informed of the injury is crucial to the child receiving proper medical care and having their injuries treated. If the daycare does not inform you or tries to conceal what happened, it is a serious ethical violation.
While that does happen in some cases, let’s assume that you are informed about the injury, and then you drive to the daycare. Here’s what you should do next:
Document the Accident
Even if the injury or illness seems minor while at the daycare, make sure the incident is properly documented. Generally, state agencies require that these types of incidents be reported, but it’s a good idea to take notes of your own. It’s important to ask for the names of the people on duty, the person to whom the indecent was reported, and the children that were involved.
Visit the Doctor
As mentioned, not all injuries are apparent at the time of the accident. Going to the doctor or emergency room is the best possible assurance that the child’s injuries are not getting worse. If head injuries are left untreated, for example, they might progress from mild to serious in only a short period of time.
Contact an Attorney
When your child is injured, it can be very stressful, and you may feel overwhelmed by the legal process. An attorney can work on your behalf, protect your legal rights, and save you time and a headache.
Can you Sue on Behalf of your Child?
If your child’s injury is serious, you will may face medical bills. If the injury could have been prevented, then you have the right to seek compensation. Compensation for the parents of the child is meant to reimburse the family for their losses. But it is important to note that your child can file their own claim as well.
In most cases involving a minor, the parents’ and child’s claims are presented in two parts. The first part will be your claim against the individual for medical expenses, such as ambulance rides, doctors’ appointments, therapy, and hospital care. To be reimbursed for these expenses, you would have to file a claim for damages.
The second part of the claim is seeking to recover damages for injuries that are personal to the child. Usually, the claim would include complaints of physical impairment, or pain and suffering. Since the injury was suffered by the child, the claim belongs to them. However, since minors cannot file lawsuits, you will act as their representative and bring the claim on their behalf.
Money From the Settlement
In cases brought on behalf of children, the awards from settlement are divided between the parents and the child. Parents are awarded a predetermined about based on the cost of medical bills and attorneys’ fees. The remainder accounts for pain and suffering and belongs to the child.
Generally, parents will not have control over the money that is awarded for the child’s claim. In most cases, the court will place child settlement awards into a trust account which will have restrictions on it until the child turns 18. There are many cases of child victims deciding to use their settlement funds for college tuition or to enter trade school after turning 18.
Leading Causes of Injury in Daycares
Most accidents that occur in childcare settings are unintentional, but severe injuries occur nonetheless. Knowing the reasons why most daycare injuries occur can help you during your investigation of the incident. When you go to pick up your child, having these common causes of injury in mind may help you discover how the accident occurred.
Common causes of daycare injuries include:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading cause of injuries in children is playground-related accidents. For this reason, schools are required to adhere to specific safety requirements when it comes to playgrounds. Additionally, daycare staff must be properly trained and able to quickly react to children’s playground-related injuries. While most schools do have some safety measures in place, it is possible that your daycare center may have a relaxed safety policy.
Loose and Falling Objects
There have been fatal incidences of children being crushed by pieces of furniture that were not properly secured. Daycare staff should secure and organize the furniture to ensure that children are safe from heavy pieces tipping over. Securing bookcases to the wall and fastening all large and heavy objects is the best way to prevent children from toppling them onto themselves or other children.
Childcare providers that intentionally or unintentionally injure or abuse a child can be held liable for their actions. Some forms of abuse are so heinous that they rise to the level of a criminal act. Keep in mind that even if the daycare employee is criminally prosecuted, a civil claim can still be filed against them.
Bottle Warmer Burns
Bottle warmers are used to help heat up milk and formula so that infants will take their bottles. When bottle warmers are not properly stored, they pose a serious risk to children. Injuries involving bottle warmers are most likely to occur when the bottle warmer is in reach of the child or when the cord of the machine is accessible to the child.
What if I Signed a Liability Waiver?
Most daycares require the child’s parents to sign a waiver of liability before taking care of a child. These waivers are intended to protect the daycare from lawsuits that may result from accidents occurring on their premises. Sometimes parents think that this waiver prevents the daycare from ever being held liable, but this is not the cause.
Generally, you can sue a daycare provider for compensation if your child is injured due to their negligence. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule and situations where the daycare’s liability is limited. However, waivers are not a complete shield against lawsuits.
Daycare Waivers Don’t Remove Liability
Daycares cannot legally waive their liability for accidents or injuries that are the result of their own negligence. In other words, whether the waiver is unenforceable depends on whether your child’s injury was caused by negligence. Likewise, whether the daycare’s liability is limited by the waiver depends on your ability to prove that negligence played a role in the injury.
A Liability Waiver Should Not Stop You From Taking Legal Action
Liability waivers are often not upheld in court, as enforcing them would effectively grant daycares permission to act negligently. If the daycare is truly responsible for your child’s injury, you can’t be stopped from filing a lawsuit against them. So, don’t let the fear that you’ve given up your right to sue prevent you from contacting an attorney.
A Colorado Springs personal injury lawyer can evaluate your claim for free and analyze the facts of your case. If a liability waiver was signed, it will likely be used by the defendant to try to deny your claims. The attorneys at Zinda Law Group can use their experience with daycare injury claims to help you in this situation.
Get Help from our Colorado Springs daycare injury Lawyers today
If you or someone you know has a child who was harmed by their daycare provider, contact the Colorado Springs injury attorneys at Zinda Law Group. We can help hold responsible parties accountable and seek compensation for your child for the injuries they’ve endured.
If your child sustained an injury in daycare, you shouldn’t have to go through the legal process alone. Call (800) 863-5312 to speak with a Colorado Springs attorney from Zinda Law Group today. We offer a No Win, No Fee Guarantee, which means that you will pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict in your case.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.
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