Inadequate Supervision in Daycare Facilities
One of the most common causes of child injury at a daycare facility is lack of or inadequate supervision. Falls, ingestion of toxins and playground injuries are all common injuries that might be related to inadequate supervision. Injuries are more common in younger children, both because of their inexperience and because they are less coordinated than older children. If an employee at a childcare facility is careless, the result can be a serious or catastrophic injury. A worker could briefly step away while changing a baby’s diaper, for example, and the baby could fall off the changing station. A childcare provider might leave the room for a moment, allowing children the opportunity to climb and fall from high surfaces. Sometimes simply failing to adequately control children can lead to a very serious injury by the child. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, “Based on data gathered in 2006 from 39 states, 5,321 daycare providers were found to be perpetrators of abuse or neglect.” While many daycare providers were safe and careful, inadequate supervision, neglect, and abuse at childcare facilities are major problems across the country.
How Does Texas Law Address Negligent Daycare Facilities?
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services regulates daycare facilities. This agency inspects facilities on an ongoing basis for compliance with regulations, investigates accidents and suspected abuse, and maintains a hotline to report abuse anonymously (1-800-252-5400). State regulations mandate strict supervision of children at daycare facilities. “Supervising children at all times means that the assigned caregiver is accountable for each child’s care. This includes responsibility for the ongoing activity of each child, appropriate visual and/or auditory awareness, physical proximity, and knowledge of activity requirements and each child’s needs.” There are stricter laws governing the supervision of infants. Generally, infants need to be watched at all times to ensure they are not hurt. If your child has been severely injured at a daycare– call us to discuss your rights.
Legal Options After a Child Injury at a Daycare
If a child is injured at a daycare center from abuse, neglect or poor supervision, parents have the option to file a personal injury case on behalf of the minor child. Generally, plaintiffs must prove that the defendant acted negligently and that the defendant’s negligence caused the injury. Wrongful death lawsuits have the same standards of proof and can be filed by parents after a child’s death. Parents may seek compensation for their damages, like medical expenses or time taken off work to care for an injured child. However, in Texas, courts take very seriously the obligations to a minor and always take steps to ensure the minor is being treated fairly and their best interests are represented. Usually, the court will order the minor’s money to be held in the registry of the court until the child turns 18. Another option for dealing with the child’s injury money is to buy an annuity from a reputable insurance company to pay the proceeds to the minor later in life.
The claims of the parents are generally subject to the two-year statute of limitations in Texas. The statute of limitations for the claims of the minor may be valid until the child turns 18, giving children until they are 20 to pursue some of the damages. Parents should discuss both statutes of limitations with an attorney so they understand the time period they have to file and the types of damages they may seek. However, delaying the initial investigation or filing a lawsuit can make a case much more difficult and sometimes impossible to win because of the loss of evidence and witnesses and the status of the daycare facility.
What Should I Do After My Child is Injured at a Daycare?
Obviously the first step is to look out for the health and safety of your child. Obtaining prompt medical treatment and following a doctor’s order to the letter is essential. As soon as practical, get an explanation from the daycare center about what happened and who was involved in the incident. In Texas, parents must sign an incident report provided by the daycare center shortly after the injury. This is a requirement on the daycare center to ensure that they notify the parents of the incident.
You might be able to speak with everyone at the daycare center with knowledge of what happened with your child. The more people you speak with the better if you feel you are not getting the straight story from the daycare center.
Documenting the injury by videotape or photographs can also help to establish the severity of the injury. Obtaining the same evidence from the site of the injury should be accomplished if you can with the daycare.
With more serious injuries, Child Protective Services will probably be notified and investigate aimed at protecting the child from further harm. Most of the time, Child Protective Services is looking for a violation of the rules by the daycare center. Even if child protective services find a rule violation usually a slap on the wrist is all the daycare center will get. It is common that a child can be injured, and the agency finds no rule violation by the daycare center. Fortunately, the findings of the Child Protective Services are not binding upon the parents of the injured child.
Choosing an attorney with a substantial track record in handling daycare negligence cases should be a top priority for you.
Our Daycare Negligence Lawyers have represented families whose child has been severely injured and even killed at daycare centers.
For over 35 years we have fought for maximum compensation for children severely injured at daycare centers. Our track record of success for the children is exceptional.
Types of daycare injury cases we handle
- Fractures and broken bones
- Surgical intervention
- Severe burns
- Wrongful death
We are routinely sent daycare injury cases by other attorneys because of our experience.
Daycare Injury Lawyer in Houston
Contact a daycare accident and injury lawyer to help you as soon as possible after your child’s injury- Call (281) 587-1111 for a no-obligation consultation with an experienced child injury lawyer. We have been helping families after a child injury at daycare centers for over three decades. (Please note we do NOT handle claims against public schools)
Common Questions About Daycare Injuries
What is Daycare Negligence?
When a parent entrusts their most precious possession to someone to care for in their absence, they expect the caregiver to be diligent and caring. Unfortunately, many daycare centers lack skilled caregivers sufficiently trained to protect young children.
A daycare center is a duty to supervise the children in their care and follow the rules set forth that apply to daycare centers in Texas. The most common act of negligence by a daycare center is failing to supervise a child adequately. Failing to monitor can be taking their eyes off very young children, being distracted by another child, or even leaving the room temporarily.
Violating the safety rules that apply to young children, such as which play equipment they can utilize based upon age, can also be an act of negligence. Another example would be failing to follow the formulas for teacher-child ratios.
If your child is injured at a daycare center, contact an attorney experienced in handling daycare negligence litigation when after the accident.
What to do After a Daycare Injury?
If your child was injured at a daycare center, obviously, you will do what is necessary for your child to get the medical treatment they need. Following up with the treating physicians is recommended.
In Texas, the daycare facility must give you written notice whenever a child has been injured at the daycare. Keeping a copy of that disclosure and obtaining a more detailed description of the incident is necessary. Asking for copies of videotapes and statements from employees can be helpful if you pursue a claim.
Sometimes, the Texas Child Protective Services Agency will investigate the incident and tried to determine how the child was injured and if the daycare violated any rules. However, the investigation by Child Protective Services is aimed at protecting the child and preventing a future occurrence and not necessarily to benefit the claim made by parents for the injury to their child.
After you have obtained all the factual information you can get from the daycare center, contact an attorney experienced in daycare center negligence litigation. We have been helping families pursue civil justice for injuries to children at daycare centers for over 35 years. Call us for a free no-obligation consultation at (281) 587-1111.
How to Pick an Attorney for a Daycare Injury?
Choosing an attorney to fight for your child’s financial future after being hurt at a daycare center is a daunting task. Here are a few guidelines to help you select the appropriate attorney for your case.
Choosing an attorney for a daycare accident requires finding a lawyer who has handled numerous cases involving daycare injury. Daycare negligence claims need an attorney who is well-versed in the regulations applicable to daycare centers. And trial experience and the ability to dedicate the time and resources necessary are also essential considerations.
Always Choose Local
You should always pick an attorney licensed in the state where the incident occurred. Choosing an out-of-state attorney, even when they have vast experience in daycare litigation should not be your first choice. Out-of-state attorneys are at a disadvantage, well known to the insurance carriers for the daycare center.
Trust your Intuition
Selecting the best attorney for your case requires judgment on your part. Consider the compassion of the attorney, whether they have the time and resources to devote to your lawsuit. If you sense the attorney is too busy to talk with you about the matter, you probably are correct. Also, research the attorney’s reputation with similar cases.
How are Injury Claims Against Daycare Centers Handled?
When a child is injured at a daycare center in an accident, parents may want to look at making a civil claim for damages against the daycare center.
In Texas, injury claims that involve a minor or handled differently than if the injured person is an adult. With an injury to a minor, even where a settlement is reached, a lawsuit must be filed. A judge will appoint an ad litem, who is an attorney, to advise the court on the fairness of any settlement agreement with the minor.
If the case is not settled, the general rules of litigation apply, and the burden of proof falls upon the family to prove negligence by the daycare center and the damages incurred.
Daycare centers must operate under safety rules promulgated by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services under the minimum standards for childcare centers in Texas. Choosing an experienced attorney for daycare negligence litigation is essential.