Santa Fe Daycare Injury Lawyers
Talk with our Santa Fe daycare injury lawyers by calling (800) 863-5312
It can be immensely difficult for parents to locate trustworthy childcare centers for children under the age of five. In fact, roughly 32% of children in that age bracket struggle with access to quality childcare. Once parents do find a daycare center, they expect their children to be properly cared for. However, some daycares fail to meet those standards and negligently cause harm to children. Parents of children harmed in daycare would benefit from speaking with Santa Fe daycare injury lawyers.
If your child was harmed by the negligence of a daycare, speak with a Santa Fe attorney to learn about your options. Call (800) 863-5312 and schedule your free consultation with a Zinda Law Group attorney. We will listen to your account of how your child was injured and help you plan your next steps.
How our Santa Fe daycare injury lawyers help you seek compensation
1. A Santa Fe Personal Injury Lawyer Can Begin Your Lawsuit
Before you even begin your claim, a lawyer can provide an estimate of what your claim may be worth.. Also, a lawyer can let you know whether you are within the correct time limit to file for recovery. In New Mexico, you have three years from the day of the accident to file your claim while the child is still a minor, or you have one year after the child turns eighteen to file the claim.
The attorney can also help you with the substantive matters pertaining to your claim. You must decide the most appropriate party or parties to sue, whether that party be the employee, the daycare company, or both. It might be more appropriate to sue the employee if the company had procedures in place to prevent your child’s injury, but it might be appropriate to sue the company if it did a poor job training its employee.
2. A Santa Fe Attorney Can Investigate Your Case
Once you have filed your case, your lawyer will start the legal process of discovery. During discovery, the parties on either side gather and exchange information until they feel certain they have everything they need to determine an appropriate settlement amount. This process can take a while, often involving multiple depositions of various witnesses and interrogatories of the parties involved.
3. A Lawyer Can Help Negotiate a Settlement
When discovery concludes, the parties will begin negotiating a settlement. While discovery is usually the longest part of the legal process, settlement is often the most difficult. That is because it is hard to determine whether you are better off accepting a settlement offer or going to trial. If you settle, you know the amount the defendant is willing to pay you for your child’s injuries, but this is less predictable if you go to trial.
Additionally, the defendant might come up with affirmative defenses, claiming that the daycare was not negligent. A Santa Fe daycare injury attorney can help you by gauging whether a settlement offer is high or low based on how the strength of your case compares to previous daycare accident cases the lawyer has handled. The attorney will also prepare for defenses that the daycare center could raise in response to your claim.
Read More: Santa Fe Personal Injury Lawyers
What to do after a daycare accident in Santa Fe
You might wonder what you can do after your child has come home from daycare with an injury. How can your minor child file a lawsuit? Fortunately, you can file on behalf of your minor child to pursue compensation for him or her for the injury. But before you file, you should take the appropriate steps to uphold the strength of your child’s legal claim.
Record the Injury
Before all else, document your child’s injury as soon as possible by taking pictures and notes on the injury. Sometimes children have trouble communicating what is hurting them, so pay close attention if your child is acting strangely after coming home from childcare. You might even file a police report to get another account of your child’s injury. If you do, request a copy of the report for your personal records.
Take Your Child to the Doctor
When it is clear your child has sustained an injury, take him or her to the doctor so that you have another record of the incident. Taking your child to the doctor helps him or her receive the correct treatment and heal faster. It also can provide proof that your child sustained an injury for which he or she could receive compensation under the law. Further, a doctor visit can show that your child experienced pain and suffering based on the intensity of the injury.
Document your child’s visits to the doctor, noting where you went; why you went; the diagnosis, treatment, or care your child received; and the cost of treatment. This information can be used to calculate the economic damages from the daycare that caused the injury. A Santa Fe lawyer can help you piece this evidence together.
Consult with a Daycare Injury Attorney
Your child did not deserve to be injured by the negligent childcare center, and the company at fault should be held liable. A lawyer can help you decide what is best for you and your child moving forward after the accident. Additionally, a daycare injury attorney has the resources necessary to help pursue justice.
Read More: What Are My Rights if My Child Was Injured at Daycare?
Common types of daycare injuries
One can scarcely imagine all the ways a child could be injured at a daycare, whether the injury happens indoors or outdoors while the child is being watched or ignored. No matter how the injury happened, a Santa Fe personal injury lawyer can let you know how to proceed under the law. Here are the most common types of injuries children can sustain at daycare:
- Injuries due to abuse (such as poor supervision) from the daycare staff
- Injuries from other children at the daycare
- Concussions from the child bumping his or her head on desks or doors, or from falling
- Fractured or broken bones from the child falling from playground equipment
- Poisoning from the child consuming toxic materials that have been left out
- Pinched or jammed fingers and limbs from malfunctioning playground equipment
- Choking on food or small toys
How to prove negligence in a daycare injury case
In order to recover for the negligence of the daycare center or employee, you must prove four elements of negligence:
- The daycare or employee owed your child a duty of care.
- The daycare or employee breached the duty of care owed to your child.
- Your child sustained an injury for which he or she can receive compensation.
- The daycare or employee directly and proximately caused your child’s injury.
What Is the Duty of Care, and How Is it Breached?
A legal duty of care is established from certain types of relationships. For example, drivers owe each other a duty of care to watch out for changing traffic conditions like construction to avoid getting in a crash. Store owners owe patrons a duty of care to clean up or mark spills on slick floors to avoid someone slipping and falling. This duty of care is equal to the level of care that the ordinary, reasonable person would show under similar circumstances.
Therefore, daycare centers should provide a level of care that matches the industry standard for daycares. Since the facilities provide the service of looking after other peoples’ children, they should try especially hard to prevent foreseeable injuries. New Mexico’s law anticipates some of the safety protocols daycares should take, such as limiting the number of children per staff member. Other protocols are common sense, such as avoiding giving out small toys that could be a choking hazard to toddlers.
The duty of care is breached when the facility fails to provide the child with the right amount of supervision or the expected level of safety. While it is understandable that no daycare can prevent all injuries, the daycare should at least try to reduce foreseeable injuries. Speak with an attorney to establish the standard of care in your case and deem whether the daycare might have breached it.
What Is a Compensable Injury and Who Caused it?
The next parts of the negligence analysis focus on the child’s injury. Did your child receive an injury for which compensation is possible? If he or she received a bruise, broken bone, or concussion, then that element has likely been met. If he or she merely did not get to watch his or her favorite television program that day and came home crying, then that element has probably not been met.
Finally, did the daycare or its employee cause your child’s injury? This might at first appear to be a difficult question, especially if another child caused your child’s injury. However, such an injury may not have happened but for the daycare’s lack of supervision. Tell your story to an attorney to see whether the daycare or its employee is to blame for your child’s injury.
Read More: What is Negligence?
What to do if you signed a liability waiver?
If you are worried you signed away your rights because your contract with the daycare center included a clause that claimed to remove any of the daycare’s liability for negligence, do not fear. That waiver was meant to deter you from suing the daycare company, but that does not mean you cannot sue. If courts enforced liability waivers for daycares, then daycares would not have a reason to keep daycares as safe as possible (except, perhaps, to keep their reputations clean). Therefore, to encourage safety in childcare centers, courts usually do not enforce childcare centers’ liability waivers.
Kinds of compensation for personal injuries
The settlement or judgment amount you receive from the lawsuit will be given to your child. Of course, you will receive a portion of it to cover your child’s medical expenses, but much of it will be held for your child either through a trust or a special bank account until your child turns eighteen. The amount of compensation that your child will receive depends on the damages he or she endured. The types of damages in personal injury claims may include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are awarded based on the financial loss you sustained to treat your child’s injury. They include the amount from your medical bills and the time you had to take off work to care for your child after the injury. Have a receipt or piece of proof for each item you include in your economic damages. An attorney can help make sure you do not leave anything out.
Non-economic damages are awarded based on the amount of pain and suffering your child endured. Non-economic damages can be more difficult to prove because they are non-physical and non-financial, but they are still a significant portion of your total compensation amount. Often, the kind of injury your child received can be a benchmark for non-economic damages your child should be awarded.
Finally, courts award punitive damages to punish the party at fault for especially serious acts or omissions. A court may choose to award punitive damages to the victim in the case of a negligent daycare to deter that daycare or other daycares from committing similar acts or omissions in the future. Courts assigning extra fees in such cases can help keep childcare centers as safe as possible.
Santa Fe Daycare Injury Lawyers at Zinda law group want to help you today
You were likely horrified to learn that the place caring for your child while you were working negligently caused harm.. If your child was the victim of a negligent daycare, you might be able to be compensated for your child’s injuries. A Zinda Law Group lawyer is ready to learn about your case and talk with you about how you can proceed.
Speak with one of our personal injury lawyers in Santa Fe to learn how we can help during every step of the legal process. Plus, we offer a No Win, No Fee Guarantee, meaning that you do not have to pay us unless we win your case for you. Call (800) 863-5312 to speak with our personal injury lawyers today.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.