Sending a child to daycare for the first time can be a nerve-racking experience. Even after years with a child in daycare, it can be hard to trust others to take care of your kids. This dynamic is why the daycare industry is built on trust and accountability. When a child is seriously injured, that trust is shattered.
Surprisingly, children are less likely to be seriously injured in daycare than at home. Most states have strict rules that govern the licensing and operation of daycares. These rules drive accountability. Parents should have peace of mind when they send their children to daycare.
Unfortunately, rules can not prevent every daycare injury. When a child gets injured in daycare, many factors can be at play.
Sometimes a common mistake leads to injury. Other times a daycare center is being operated negligently. In the worst cases, the intentional act of a daycare provider can cause serious harm.
If your child is injured at daycare, an Atlanta daycare injury lawyer can help you determine what happened. If the injury is due to negligence or an intentional act, an attorney can help you hold the daycare center accountable.
Why Do Daycare Injuries Happen?
Minor injuries are a normal part of growing up. Common minor injuries at daycare include small cuts, bruises, and scrapes. These wounds can happen as a result of regular play between children.
Other injuries, such as bite marks, can be due to simple mistakes by daycare providers. So long as these situations do not happen regularly, it is unlikely that minor errors will lead to liability.
More severe wounds can be caused by negligence or recklessness. These injuries include broken bones, concussions, dental injuries, poisonings, and burns. Often, these injuries are due to the negligence or recklessness of the daycare provider. When a severe injury happens at daycare, it is essential to consult an Atlanta daycare injury lawyer and get to the bottom of what happened.
Unfortunately, vetting systems are not perfect. Daycare injuries can be the result of intentional acts by daycare providers. These situations are never ok. A daycare provider should never intentionally strike or harm your child in any way. If a deliberate act harms your child, it is essential to hold the perpetrator accountable—both to recover compensation for the damage they caused and to protect other children.
Steps to Take After a Daycare Injury
If your child is injured while attending daycare, it is vital to understand what caused the injury. To do this, it is crucial to follow the correct steps.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Protecting your child from further harm is the most important step after injury. Seeking help from a medical professional is the best way to protect your child. It will also help you prove the severity of your child’s injuries. If you are forced to go to court, demonstrating the severity of your child’s injuries will be essential.
Get the Incident Report
In Georgia, a daycare facility must file an incident report within 24 hours after any severe injury or illness. Ask the facility for the incident report. Doing this will ensure the daycare provider is fulfilling their obligations and provide insight into your child’s injuries.
Report the Injury
Daycare operators do not always file incident reports as they should. It is critical that you report the incident to Bright from the Start. Bright from the Start is the state agency responsible for daycare oversight in Georgia. Reporting the incident keeps daycare centers honest and alerts Bright from the Start when a daycare does not perform its duty.
Speak to Other Parents and Find Out What Happened
Getting to the bottom of what happened will help determine if your child’s injury resulted from negligence. It is helpful to talk to other parents about the incident to see if their children had similar experiences. Sometimes a pattern of neglect can remain hidden if parents do not speak to each other. You may also want to talk to workers at the daycare and tour the center yourself after the incident.
Contact an Attorney
An experienced daycare attorney can help you investigate what happened to your child. They can also provide guidance on whether negligence or an intentional act caused the injury. Most lawyers who have experience in daycare negligence will be able to quickly differentiate simple mistakes from those that could lead to liability.
Negligence at Daycare
Daycares are responsible for providing a reasonably safe environment for your children to learn and play. Providers can fail this responsibility in many different ways. Common scenarios in which a daycare provider fails to exercise an appropriate standard of care include:
- Failing to provide proper care for a child, such as regularly changing diapers;
- Allowing children to be exposed to dangerous chemicals like cleaning supplies;
- Allowing children to be exposed to agents that cause rashes and chemical burns;
- Failing to take steps to keep the daycare premises and equipment safe;
- Improperly supervising children;
- Failing to stow dangerous items away from children;
- Failing to eliminate choking hazards, and
- Physically, sexually, or emotionally abusing children.
If you suspect any of these scenarios injured your child, you should consider your legal options after a daycare injury. An experienced attorney can help you determine what to do next.
How to Prove Negligence and Liability
If a daycare provider injures your child, you must prove they acted negligently to recover compensation. To prove negligence, you will have to show four elements.
- The daycare had a duty to exercise reasonable care,
- The daycare provider breached that duty,
- The child’s injuries would not have happened if the daycare had not breached its duty, and
- The breach caused the child’s injury.
Showing a daycare provider had a duty of care toward your child can be straightforward. Daycare facilities have a responsibility to maintain a safe premise, for example.
Proving a breach of duty can be more difficult. To do this, you will have to show the daycare provider failed to act in a reasonably prudent manner.
If the child’s injuries would have happened in the absence of the daycare provider’s breach, then the daycare provider is probably not liable.
Finally, you must show that the daycare provider’s breach caused your child’s injury. Proving this element can involve doctor’s statements, physical evidence, and witness reports.
Georgia also provides an avenue for negligence per se liability. If a daycare facility fails to follow the rules and regulations the state sets, its actions or omissions are presumed to be negligent. In these cases, you will still have to prove the act or omission caused your child’s injury.
How an Attorney Can Help with Daycare Injuries
If a daycare provider injured your child, the hardworking attorneys at MG Law know how to help.
When your child is recovering from a severe injury, the last thing you should have on your mind is the nuances of communicating with insurance companies. MG Law focuses exclusively on personal injury matters, so we know how to settle your case with insurance companies. Our experienced lawyers will work to get you the best outcome possible.If the insurance companies refuse to settle for a reasonable amount, our attorneys will take them on in the courts. Our commitment to leadership, service, and problem-solving ensures that every client gets the advocacy they deserve. Contact MG Law today so we can help you and your child recover the compensation you deserve.