Daycare is the “safe place” parents turn to when it comes to childcare. This is why it is particularly distressing if your child suffers an injury while in the care of daycare workers.
Many parents turn to daycare or nannies when it’s time to go back to work following a childbirth. Choosing a daycare is a hard task. It’s very upsetting when you discover that your child suffered injuries, pain or abuse after you entrusted them to a daycare provider.
When a child gets hurt at a daycare, it can cause significant problems for the child as well as the family. Unforeseen doctor visits and time off from work can add a financial burden to the family as you try to get the best quality of care for your child as possible. You may also be afraid to let the child stay with another daycare because your experience was so awful.
Who Is Held Responsible for Daycare Injuries?
In Minnesota, daycare providers carry liability insurance in order to operate. This insurance helps the facility be held financially responsible in cases of injury, negligence, or serious illness caused by the daycare environment.
Liability insurance typically covers medical bills, pain and suffering, and emotional damages.
Filing a lawsuit isn’t a fun experience, you may need to do it to get your life back in order. If you’ve incurred expenses and have lost a lot of work and sleep, you may need the money to get back to a “normal” life again. This is where the daycare’s liability insurance comes in – it’s purchased to cover the daycare’s legal expenses, etc. when something goes wrong.
Day Care Accidents
The daily environment in a daycare is hectic and sometimes hazardous. Accidents happen. Many of these accidents are avoidable. Maybe the daycare had too few workers because of employee absences. Or maybe the daycare workers just weren’t watching the kids as carefully as they should. It’s easy for a child to swallow something dangerous, take a bad fall, or otherwise become injured because daycare workers were negligent in their duties. So many accidents that happen are preventable.
Typical daycare accidents are head injuries and broken bones.
Abuse and Neglect at Daycare
Sometimes a daycare worker will even abuse children in their care. Often, there will be a state investigation when an injury occurs at a daycare site. If this is the case, somebody who works at the daycare may face criminal charges if there is negligence or evidence of abuse.
In order to recoup expenses, however, you will need to file a lawsuit. Keep track of your expenses, including unpaid time off from work, any counseling costs, and medical bills so you can have them ready for your attorney.
Suing a Daycare for Negligence
To establish a claim for negligence, your attorney must prove the basis of your lawsuit. First, your attorney must prove that your daycare had a duty of care. Once he or she establishes this, they must also prove that the day care breached the duty of care, and caused an injury to your child.
It’s very important to document your child’s injuries and any medical treatment, mental health treatment or other therapies that your child required due to his or her injury. When your child completes medical treatment, you should obtain the medical bills and medical records from the doctors who treated your child. If there are injuries that will require ongoing treatment, try to get this in writing as well. Often injury can result in disability.
Medical reports will help you document your child’s injuries and how his or her life has changed as a result. Is your child now afraid of the daycare environment? Is she more timid than before? Or more aggressive? Some reactions to trauma will include the need for therapy to help your child adjust to life after the accident. These types of problems are usually a part of your child’s pain and suffering, as well, and are often compensated for via a lawsuit.
Please note that you will need file paperwork to become appointed guardian ad litem for your child. Your attorney can help you file this paperwork. Once you are guardian ad litem, you can sue on his or her behalf.
Day Care Center Duty of Care
In order to prove that a daycare was negligent while watching your child, your attorney will need to prove to the judge or jury that the daycare facility failed to exercise “due care” to prevent a foreseeable injury to your child. Due care is a standard of care that most daycare facilities are held to. When they fail in this duty, and a preventable accident harms a child, you can hold the daycare responsible for the child’s injuries, both physical and mental.
If a daycare did not exercise due care, this means they weren’t supervising your child closely. An example of this would be if daycare workers left hazardous materials around that are poisonous to children, ignoring the warning label. Or, as another example, if the daycare workers left a ladder in a place that a child could access it and then left the room. There are countless cases of a daycare worker only leaving a child unsupervised for a moment that have turned into tragic circumstances.
Proving Fault (Causation)
Your attorney will work to prove that your child’s injuries were the daycare’s fault either through neglect or abuse. Often the workers will have skipped certain precautions or broken rules or daycare laws, such as being understaffed. It’s important for your attorney can prove the injuries were preventable. If there was a freak accident, the daycare could be held blameless by the law. For example, if a child’s injury occurred during a strong storm or power outage, the accident may not have been forseeable.
Proving that daycare injuries caused your child pain and suffering is the job of an experience attorney. Don’t settle for less.. While you’re working on helping your child feel better again, your attorney can help build a competent case for either settlement or trial. If your child is suffering because of another person’s actions or neglect, please contact us.