Children are always at risk when not under the parents care
While accidents can and do happen, when they happen in a daycare environment, the results can prove devastating. Young children can ingest potentially fatal objects when not supervised correctly. They can be injured during unsupervised play.
State and federal law provide the standards that a daycare facility is required to adhere to. State licensing boards are tools of choice for both ensuring that daycare workers are trained and properly certified, and that facilities meet the necessary requirements for child safety. A licensed daycare facility is required to keep certain records concerning supervision, training and ratios of children to adults.
While a daycare facility is not designed to insure that a child will be safe, a daycare facility is intended to provide supervision and thus, the duty of care that is owed by a day care facility may be greater than that of a facility whose primary function is that of education.
Courts generally hold a daycare facility liable for a child’s injuries under three different legal theories, all primarily grounded in negligence. In negligence or negligent supervision, the claim is basically one in which the child’s injury is directly or proximally caused by the facility’s lack of appropriate supervision. These cases often arise when the ratio of children to day care worker becomes skewed. There are too many children and too few people to watch them. A child, improperly supervised, can ingest something inherently dangerous while at the facility.
The law requires that the facility follow a standard of care appropriate for the age of the children at the facility. This standard of care forms the basis from which to determine the reasonableness or lack thereof of the actions of the facility workers in carrying out their duty. The question of whether a facility can be held liable for a child’s injuries is most often a fact bound analysis. If you suspect that a daycare facility has been negligent, it is best to seek consultation with an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help investigate the daycare facility to determine whether basic threshold standards have been met.
The courts may also find liability under a theory of negligence per se. If the facility fails to adequately screen a potential employee and that employee is a known abuser, the facility may be held liable if they are required by law to screen. Res Ipsa Loquitur or the “thing speaks for itself,” is a theory that can also be employed in situations where the injury is severe enough even when if it is not clear how a child’s injury occurred.
If you suspect daycare negligence, seek the help of an attorney soon. An attorney’s expertise is needed to help investigate and determine whether the daycare facility and its workers can and should be held liable. Contact the law offices of Mathew Titus if you’ve been a victim of daycare negligence.