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What if a Child Wanders Away from a Day Care Center? Legal Rights of the Injured Child

By David A. Wolf, Attorney – Child Injury Lawyer Blog

book-abcOne basic duty of every day care center is the duty of supervision. Many day care centers are located on her near busy roadways, streets, neighborhoods, and commercial developments.  As such, the duty to supervise the children is vital the health, safety, and welfare of the children enrolled in the day care program. In some instances, a child is unharmed when he or she wanders away from a day care center.  An astute bystander or police officer locates the child and returns the child to the day care center.  While the situation could have escalated into something quite horrible, the child did not receive any injuries and soon forgets about the whole incident.  On the other hand, there are incidents involving the wandering of a child away from a day care center that results in serious personal injuries and even the tragic death of the child. One such incident took place in Olathe, Kansas when a child was hit and killed by a pick up truck. The incident took place on a residential street in a vicinity near the the day care center.  The news report identified the toddler as Harper Kay Rodden.  In initial news reports, there were no details as to how the 14 month toddler had exited the day care center, how the 14 month old toddler was supervised prior to exiting the facility, what safeguards were in place for the protection and safety of the children, and what steps could have or should have been taken to protect this child from wandering out of the day care center facility.
In a day care center case, there are essentially four elements to prove:
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation;
4. Damages
While liability insurance is not one of the elements to prove up a legal case, most Child Injury Lawyers will investigate the case to determine the availability and amount of liability insurance for the day care center.  The practical pursuit of the case may be challenging if there is no liability insurance in place for the injuries or damages complained of even if there is a wrongful death resulting from the negligence of a day care center provider.   If a child dies as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a day care provider, a civil action in the form of a wrongful death case can be pursued on behalf of the parents.  Certainly, no lawsuit and no amount of money can or will ever replace a child.   However, as our legal system exist, there is a cause of action to pursue that must follow the applicable guidelines, rules, procedures, and laws in the proscribed wrongful death act.  Again, the issue of liability insurance, in most cases, will be key to the successful and practical pursuit of a personal injury case or a wrongful death case involving a day care center, child care center, summer camp, and other entity responsible for the supervision, education, and / or care of children.
David Wolf is a child injury attorney, author, and advocate. For over 25 years, he has devoted his career to the enforcement and protection of children.   He is the author of 7 books focusing on personal injury topics including the book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know.  This book has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Automobile Accidents, and other topics.  You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.