Nearly 1/4 of American children under the age of 5 attend a daycare, nursery, or preschool.
Because most parents work outside of the home, they often have little choice but to entrust the care of their children to some form of organized care arrangement. But what happens when your child is injured while in the care of a childcare organization?
If your child is among the 25% of children injured while in daycare, you should know the steps of filing a daycare accident report. Beyond that, knowing your rights and what kind of compensation you’re entitled to may help ease both anger and your financial liabilities.
Keep reading to find out what you should do when your child is injured while in the care of a daycare facility.
See a Doctor
As with any injury, the first step after your child has suffered an injury is to seek medical attention. Before figuring out your legal rights and the steps the daycare should be taking, ensure that your child is okay. A doctor can treat immediate injuries and also inform you of any serious damage that is not visible.
After the doctor has treated the immediate injury and performed a full checkup, they’ll release your child back into your care. Upon release, they’ll provide you with both medical reports and medical bills.
If you decide to file a lawsuit, you’ll require this paperwork. Together, they’ll help your legal professional determine your appropriate compensation for pain and suffering.
The medical report will provide proof as to the extent of the injury. The medical bill is the minimum amount that you should be compensated. However, pain and suffering compensation typically covers an amount beyond the immediate medical bill.
Filing a Daycare Accident Report
When your child is injured while in the care of a daycare facility, the onus isn’t on your to file a daycare accident report. In most states, there are agencies that regulate daycares.
Generally, state agencies require the daycare center to report all serious injuries. This report should be made to the family of the child as well as the agency. The extent of information and reporting required will differ from state to state.
Most daycare centers will have to notify the family in writing. This notification will include what the injury was and how it happened. You’ll be asked to sign this report.
If not included in the report already, make sure you ask for the names of everybody who was involved in the injury. This includes any other children who were involved, anybody who was on duty, and anybody who was told of the injury.
The state agency will the step in to investigate the accident. They’ll report back to the family and the daycare center with their findings. This process can take an extensive amount of time.
An important aspect of any daycare accident report is well-kept notes. When speaking with the daycare center regarding what happened, ensure you keep detailed notes. This includes the time and date of conversations you’ve had, who you’ve spoken to, as well as all details about the injury itself.
You should also be documenting your child’s injury and recovery. Try to take photographs and videos of the injury as well as the impact it’s had on your child’s life. These notes should also include a record of any and all medical treatment and the doctors who provided it.
Should you be unsatisfied with the results of the daycare accident report, these records and notes may help you in a lawsuit.
Knowing Your Rights
When you signed your child up for daycare, you most likely had to sign a waiver of liability. This release form usually covers the daycare under two circumstances.
The first part of this waiver is to allow the daycare provider to seek medical attention when their child is injured. This gives the daycare permission to get medical attention for a child without the parent’s consent and only in the case of an emergency.
The second part of this waiver may include language that releases the daycare of responsibility should a child be injured while under their care. This portion of the liability waiver tells parents that they can’t sue the daycare is their child is hurt while at the organization.
In court, this clause has proven to be useless. Parents are indeed entitled to compensation when their child is injured at a daycare center.
Requirements for a Lawsuit
Children who attend daycare are minors. As such, if you choose to follow through with a lawsuit, you represent your child and sue the daycare center on their behalf.
To move forward with a lawsuit, you have to prove negligence. This means that you must have evidence that the facility accepted responsibility for your child’s care. Furthermore, you have to prove that the daycare was negligent in providing that care.
If the daycare was negligent, they failed to provide due care to prevent a foreseeable injury. This is determined by comparing the circumstances that led to your child’s injury with a ‘normal’ daycare centers.
Knowing the State Laws
Like most laws, each state has their own regulations and codes for daycare centers. However, in most states, there is a regulating agency with the power to inspect daycare centers.
These agencies are able to enter daycare centers, inspect them for violations, and issue citations. Citations may be a result of unhygienic conditions, poor supervision, and other conditions that are unsafe or unfit for a child.
If your child was injured at a facility that is also subject to code violations, you don’t have to prove negligence in a lawsuit. The code violations themselves provide you with that evidence.
Was Your Child Injured at Daycare?
If your child was injured while in the care of a daycare facility, the first step is to seek medical attention. The onus for filing the daycare accident report falls on the institution itself. Your state agency will follow up on that report and determine what you’re entitled to.
If you’re unsatisfied with the result of the daycare accident report, you may have a case for negligence. Ensure you keep all of your records and know your rights. Then, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys to find out how we can help you receive the benefits your child is entitled to.