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What is the Standard of Proof Required in a Civil Case Involving the Death of a Child at a Day Care Center?

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


When a child especially up a child, under the age of 1 year old, dies at the daycare center, it typically is reported by the local newspaper and television station. Just because a child dies at the site of the day care center does not mean the day care center is liable or responsible for the death of child. The standard of proof in a wrongful death case against the day care center is generally one that requires the proof of negligence and causation proven by the preponderance of evidence. In other words, the evidence must prove the following element of the case by the greater weight of the evidence:

1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
4. Damages.

If a case against a day care center for the wrongful death of a child, a civil case can be pursued if the evidence proofs that the staff at the day care center breached a duty of care and this, in turn, was the proximate cause of the death of the child.

When a child dies at a day care center, there will typically be an autopsy performed by a local hospital or the medical examiner’s office. The autopsy completed will seek to determine the cause of death. The autopsy will also seek to determine if if there was any congenital condition that caused or significantly contributed to the child’s death.

The death of a young child, especially one who dies at a day care center, has a ripple effect through the family, neighborhood, and community. It is especially troubling when the death was avoidable with better supervision or care in place at the day care center. Due to the complexity of cases involving the death of a child, the family should seek the advice, guidance, and representation provided by a Child Injury Lawyer.

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