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What Are the Elements of a Day Care Wrongful Death Case? What Are the Rights of Parents?

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


Day care centers have the responsibility to provide reasonable and timely care to the children under the supervision of the facility. The level of supervision and attention will depend on the age of the child and the needs of the child. It is vital that staff members use their best efforts to monitor and care for the children in the facility. The level and need of supervision does not change when children (including) infants are sleeping. It is important to monitor the breathing and positioning of infants and babies who are sleeping or napping at the day care center. Tragically, many children die in day care centers due to negligence and the failure of the facility to provide adequate and appropriate care.

In most day care wrongful death cases, the following elements apply:

1. Duty
Duty refers to the responsibility of the day care center to provide timely and reasonable care and supervision of the children.

2. Breach of Duty
Breach of Duty refers to the failure of the day care center to act in a reasonable or timely manner. It can also refer to the failure to act at all to supervise and / or provide care to a child enrolled in the day care center.

3. Causation
Causation refers to the link between the breach of duty and the last element of a wrongful death case which is referred to as Damages. The breach of duty must be the cause of the injury / death of the child.

4. Damages
The element of damages involves the economic and non-economic (pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life) suffered by the surviving parent or parents of the deceased child.

When a child dies at a day care center, there is typically an autopsy performed by the local medical examiner’s office to determine cause, manner, and preventability of death. Not all deaths at day care centers are caused by negligence or the fault of a day care worker; however, since most deaths that take place in a day care center are unexpected, it makes sense to fully investigate the death of an infant, toddler, or child at a day care center.

Each day care center case or claim should be evaluated on its own merits. Often times, a day care center case involves the interpretation and evaluation of medical records and testing performed at a hospital or by the medical examiner’s office. Because of the intricacies and complexities of these cases, it is often helpful to have the advice, consultation, and legal representation by a Child Injury Lawyer.

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, and other topics. The book provides parents with basic information regarding cases and claims involving the injury or death of a child. While the book has helpful information, it is not substitute for the advice and representation of a Child Injury Lawyer. You can get the book at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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