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What if a Child is Injured by a Babysitter? Can a Lawsuit be Filed?

By  David Wolf, Attorney

Child Care Note Or Message As Reminder For Kids Daycare

In North Carolina and other states, parents rely upon babysitters to provide supervision and care for children while the parents are at work or otherwise running errands for the family.  Most babysitters are caring individuals who put the necessary time and effort into properly caring for the child; however, there are some babysitters out there who lack the patience, skill, and common sense to safely care for children.   Some of these absolutely careless and reckless babysitters are very young and some are very old. There are bad babysitters of all ages out there.  It is amazing that babysitters still think that it is acceptable to beat, spank, or shake a child even an infant when the child is crying or acting up.

Let’s face it.  Children will cry and misbehave.  It comes with the job of being a babysitter.  If a person does not like to hear a child cry or complain, that that person should not call himself or herself a babysitter and that person should not accept any babysitter jobs or responsibilities regardless of the payment opportunities out there.  When parents are away and there are no video cameras in place, a babysitter may think that the abuse or assault on a child will go unnoticed.  Unfortunately, the abuse or assault of a child can manifest itself in the form of serious personal injuries and even the death of the child.
A recent incident was reported in Troy, North Carolina.  It was reported that a babysitter was charged with child abuse after a 12 week old baby was airlifted on an emergency basis to a hospital with brain injuries and bone fractures.  The babysitter was arrested for the alleged crimes. Here are some more details about this tory at North Carolina Babysitter Charged with Child Abuse. It should be noted that the babysitter will be entitled to representation by a criminal defense attorney or the public defender’s office.   This legal representation involves a criminal case.  There can also be a civil case or claim brought against this babysitter if the evidence shows that the babysitter was careless or negligent in her care of the child. 
It should be pointed out that a civil case could be brought against the babysitter if evidence supports the pursuit of such a case; however, a Child Injury Lawyer will also consider the liability insurance (if any) and the assets (if any) of the babysitter in evaluating the case.   The legal requirements to prove a case for negligence or abuse in civil court are much different than the practical considerations.  A person can win the legal case and get a big judgment but unable to collect if there are no insurance or assets to collect upon.   In many babysitter related abuse cases, there may be a very strong legal case to pursue but no insurance or assets to go after.  
A good resource for parents is the book – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Homeowner’s Insurance, Day Care Center Injuries, Playground Injuries, School Injuries, Theme Park and Attraction Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.