Day care centers should be safe havens. For most children, a typical day at a child care center involves some adventure, snacks, and, yes, that all important nap. Unfortunately, and tragically for some toddlers, they do not return home at all following a visit to a child care center. These children do not return home because they died due to the neglect of a day care center. There is nothing worse for a parent than to bury a child. Nightmares turn into realities. One such place that tragedies take place is the unlicensed day care center. In most cases, the unlicensed day care center lacks any appreciable assets or liability insurance. As such, while a legal action or lawsuit can be filed against the day care center, the collectability of a potential settlement or verdict is highly unlikely to improbable to impossible. In other words, a strong legal case against a defendant does not mean that there is an economically viable defendant to collect from.
This past July an incident occurred within an unlicensed Tennessee daycare leaving twin babies died. The day care center operator was indicted on two counts of criminally negligent homicide in connection with the death of the two children. The parents of the children filed a wrongful death lawsuit last month seeking compensation of over 50 million dollars. While this seems like a substantial case and demand, a victory in court will most likely be a hollow one since any verdict will probably be uncollectible. As a general statement, unlicensed day care centers are typically operated by people who cut corners and who do not follow rules. Furthermore, unlicensed day care centers are usually operated by individuals who have little to no assets to collect upon when there is a sizable verdict against the facility.
Parents should check to see if a day care center is licensed and insured. While these are not the only factors to consider, if the day care center lacks a license or insurance, it can be a red flag to stay away from that day care center and find one with both liability insurance and licensure in place. When evaluating a potential case against a day care center, one of the first factors considered is the availabilty and amount of liability insurance. While a day care center may be legally liable for damages related to personal injuries or death to a child, this does not mean that the day care center owner will ultimately be able to pay out a settlement or verdict rendered in favor of the injured child.