By Scott Zahler, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
In Georgia and other States, a day care center has some basic responsibilities including the duty to keep a child out of harm’s way. In any given day care center whether in a commercial type of facility or a home based day care center, there are many dangers. Some are obvious and some are not so obvious. Dangers that could result in personal injuries to a child include: firearms, drugs, poisons, sharp objects, pools, lakes, bathtubs, hot water, household cleaners and chemicals, ropes including jump ropes (risks of strangulation), and many other dangers. A day care center and its staff should use their best efforts to keep these dangerous items out of the reach of children. Furthermore, it is vital that consistent and adequate supervision be provided to children enrolled in the day care center. While a day care center is not necessarily legally responsible for all injuries occurring at the day care center, a day care center is liable when the injuries were foreseeable to some extent and preventable with reasonable and necessary safety precautions and proper supervision. Certainly, any injury intentionally inflicted by a staff member can be actionable as a legal claim or case.
When a child is injured at a day care center, it is also the duty of the day care center to provide reasonable and necessarily medical care and follow up for the child. In many States, an incident report is required to be documented by the facility and provided to the parents and / or the State Agency that regulates and licenses the day care center. In evaluating a potential day care center, it is often helpful to divide the time line in two parts: 1. Events Leading Up to the Injury; and 2. Response to the Injury.
Typically, it is the events leading up to the injury that are more important from a legal and causation standpoint than the response to the injury. Of course, it is important to get the child timely medical care and to properly notify the parents and medical providers as needed. However, from a legal standpoint, one question that often arises is as follows: What difference did the delay in notification and / or the delay of care make as to the medical treatment and long term condition of the child? In many cases, the delay may not have resulted in any appreciable difference in the medical care provided or the long term condition of the child. In these cases, the focus of the liability or fault issues will then be on the first part of the case. (Events Leading Up to the Injury).
A serious burn injury was recently reported in Hall County, Georgia. It was reported that a child suffered serious burns at the day care center that were later treated at a hospital. In this particular matter, there were questions as to the cause of the injury, response to the injury, and other issues. As a result of the incident, four day care workers were arrested on child cruelty charges. It appears that this case will result in a civil case, administrative action, and criminal charges. The parents of the 18 month old child quickly and rightfully obtained the services of a Child Injury Lawyer to represent the interests of the child and to assist with the investigation as to the cause of the injuries. You can read more about this story at Child Suffers Serious Injuries at Georgia Day Care Center.
When a child is injured at a day care center, a parent should speak to a Child Injury Lawyer to get advice, guidance, and when appropriate legal representation. Each potential case should be evaluated on its own facts and circumstances. A Child Injury Lawyer can help a parent go through the issues and legal requirements of the potential case.
The book – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, Attraction and Theme Park Injuries, Injuries in the Home, and other topics. You can get this book at The ABCs of Child Injury.