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What are the Legal Rights of a Child Who Suffers a Head Injury or Skull Fracture at a School, Summer Camp, or Day Care Center?

By David Wolf, Attorney

book-abcChild care providers should provide each and every child with a safe environment.  There is a duty to provide reasonable and necessary supervision.  While a day care center owner is not liable for every injury that takes place, it can be held liable for those injuries that result from the negligence or carelessness of the day care center provider.  It is vital that a day care center provider not only provide reasonable and necessary supervision but it is also important to provide prompt care and follow up when an injury or condition is observed by the day care center.   Unfortunately, many day care center providers attempt to “sweep or hide an injury under the rug” and fail to inform the parents of the injury so that timely and necessary medical care can be provided to the injured child.
If a child suffers a head injury or skull fracture at a school, summer camp, or day care center, a case or claim can be pursued against the day care center if the following four elements can be proved:
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
4. Damages.
In Houston, Texas, it was reported that a day care center owner was criminally charged with injuries to a child under her care.  The child was 8 months old.  The day care center owner states that she lost a grip on the child and he fell to the floor. The day care center allegedly did not report the injuries to the parents.  The child was ultimately diagnosed with a fractured skull.   The case or incident is under investigation. See Houston Texas Day Care Center Owner Faces Criminal Charges.
The day care center owner of the unlicensed day care center will be entitled to the services of a public defender or a criminal defense attorney.   The issues at hand will be the following:
How did the child suffer the injuries at the day care center?
Are the injuries consistent with the history of events provided by the day care center owner?
Did the day care center owner know about the head injuries?
Should the day care center owner known about the head injuries?
What symptoms did the child exhibit at the day care center? at home?
What kind of training did the day care center owner have to care for children?
Was the day care center owner required to maintain a day care center license?
Did the delay in notice to the parents cause additional harm to the child?
There are many other issues or questions that may be answered through the criminal investigation. It should be noted that the parents may also pursue a civil case or claim against the day care center owner; however, it is unlikely that the day care center maintained liability insurance. It is also unlikely that there is any homeowner’s insurance in place that would apply to or cover the damages or injuries sustained at a day care center.  A civil case or claim can be brought if a day care center is negligent or proved to be at fault for causing or contributing to the personal injuries of a child; however, it can be an uphill battle collecting any compensation for the personal injuries through a settlement or verdict if there is no liability insurance in place.
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.