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If a Day Care Center is Charged with Child Endangerment, Does Guarantee a Settlement or Victory of a Civil Case or Claim Against the Facility?

 By  Andrew Baker, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney

Building Blocks LIn Ohio and other States, licensed day care centers are regulated and overseen by a state social service agency. In Ohio, it is the Department of Children and Family Services is the social service agency that regulates day care centers.   When a facility is cited by the Department or charged by the police with failing to provide appropriate care, sanctions can result in the form of fines, arrest, license probation, and license suspension.   A caregiver, individually, can be arrested and fined as well.  It should be noted that the administrative proceeding and criminal proceeding are quite different than an insurance claim and civil case.   When rules and regulations are violated, the state can step in to discipline and fine the facility and / or its staff members.  For a civil case or an insurance claim, the elements of a case are a bit different especially when it comes to the element of damages.  For instance, a facility may violate a bunch of different building codes and get shut down by the state; however, if there are no harm caused to any of the children – there may not be a civil case or insurance claim to pursue.  Just because a day care center violates a rule or regulation or even engages in conduct that is criminal in nature – this does not mean that there will be a big settlement or any settlement for that matter on behalf of the child.
For day care center insurance claims or cases, there are typically four elements to consider:
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
4. Damages.
 
In baseball, if a player bats .500 – he is an amazing player.  That means that for every 4 appearances at the plate, the batter gets 2 hits.   As such, going 2 for 4 in any professional baseball game is a very good statistic.  Of course baseball is much different than the pursuit of a legal case or claim; however, the analogy is an important one.   Let’s take a look at a day care case. If you can only prove 2 of the 4 elements, that is not respectable at all for a day care center case. In fact, a case that lacks causation and damages would get thrown out of court if it was filed or pursued.
As such, it is important to be able to prove that damages / injuries resulted from the breach of duty on the part of the day care center and its staff.  It can be quite complicated and confusing getting through the maze of issues that present themselves in a typical case.  As such, it is recommended that a parent contact a Child Injury Lawyer for advice, consultation, guidance, and legal representation.
The book titled – 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, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.