Child Care Negligence
Child Care Negligence - Best Personal Injury Attorney, NY & NJ
As a parent, you cannot be with your child every minute of every day. Whether you work or have other responsibilities, you often rely on a child care provider to watch your son or daughter. You trust this individual or facility’s employees to not only take care of your child’s basic needs but nurture them and provide both structure and entertainment throughout the day.
Unfortunately, you may discover that your child is hurt because they did not receive the care you expected and the provider is legally obligated to give. If a child care worker does not properly care for your child and this results in your son or daughter being physically or psychologically injured, then you may have a claim of child care negligence against that provider and his or her employer.
To learn more about your options, contact the attorneys of Shakhnevich Law Group as soon as possible at (718) 492-4444.
Here are a few examples of frequently asked questions we encounter in our day-to-day practice:
Negligence is Not Always Based on Violence
Many parents and caregivers have a fundamental misunderstanding regarding childcare or daycare negligence. They believe only physical abuse, such as hitting or restraining a child, amounts to negligence that could result in civil or criminal liability. This is not true. Negligence in a child care setting is the breach of the child care provider’s duty to the children, which is to treat them with reasonable care.
This duty includes keeping the children safe and providing for their physical, emotional, and psychological needs, including proper food, rest, and appropriate activities within a secure environment. A breach of this duty can be physical, but it can also be psychological. It may even arise from actions not directly related to the care of the child, such as dangerous buildings, outdoor spaces, and other areas that the children have access to.
As a parent, you should be aware that signs of child care negligence could be physical marks on your child or they could be much more subtle. You may also notice signs of negligence at the daycare center or provider’s home and not through your child at all.
7 Signs of Child Care Negligence
1. There are not enough adult care providers.
Illinois law dictates how many adults must be present based on the number and age of children attending the at-home care or daycare facility. For example, there should be one adult for every four infants for up to 12 infants, one adult for every five toddlers for up to 15 toddlers, and one adult for every eight 2-year-olds for up to 16 children. If you consistently see too few staff at your child’s daycare, this is a sign that your child is not receiving the supervision and care they need.
2. Small clutter or office supplies are within children’s reach.
Small objects, including office or craft supplies like paperclips, push pins, staples, and small lids to containers should not be left where children can reach them. Children are often harmed or killed by swallowing small and sharp objects. If you often see small objects that would dangerous if swallowed, it is a sign that the child care providers are not adequately cleaning or storing these supplies.
3. Cleaning supplies are within children’s reach.
If you notice that cleaning supplies such as floor cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, laundry detergent, and dish soaps are left where children can reach them, including unlocked cabinets beneath sinks, this is a sign of negligence. Hundreds of children are harmed by coming into contact with or swallowing chemicals every year. This can lead to long-term injuries and death.
4. There are unsafe conditions in the home, care center, or outdoor areas.
If you notice open working fireplaces, sharp edges, broken glass, broken-down vehicles or old or broken playground equipment in or around where your child is cared for, there is cause for concern. Child care providers may be negligent if they are allowing children to play on or near dangerous conditions.
5. Your child comes home with scratches, bruises, and other physical marks.
Children get a little banged up once in a while, particularly when they are learning to walk. However, as a parent, you know when your child comes home with too many or inexplicable marks on their body. It is one thing to have a bruised knee from a fall, it is another to have marks on the child’s wrists, upper arms, back, or abdomen. If you notice bruises in odd places, this is a sign of abuse.
6. Your child is consistently hungry or thirsty.
If your child is consistently in need of food or water when you pick them up from daycare, this may be a sign that the providers are not adequately nourishing your child. If they begin to lose weight or show signs of dehydration, the providers may not be feeding or giving your child water at all.
7. Your child becomes withdrawn.
Emotional abuse and neglect can have extreme effects on children’s moods and long-term emotional health. If you notice that your child’s normal demeanor has changed, and they have become withdrawn at home, this can be a sign of mistreatment by a child care provider.
Who Will Pay For My Child's Daycare Injury Medical Bills?
If the injury that your child suffered at daycare resulted in medical treatment, you’re probably getting bills in the mail. That can be an overwhelming feeling. The best way to handle medical bills is to submit them to your health insurance. Until the case is resolved, the daycare and their insurance company will not pay the medical bills as your child receives treatment.
So, in order to keep the bills from going into collections and affecting your credit score, you should use your health insurance to get the bills paid. In the event that the daycare is held responsible, one of the claims is for reimbursement of all medical expenses paid or still owed to date. This would include any out-of-pocket expenses and co-pays that you may have while your child is treating.
The Most Important Step Is Medical Treatment After Finding Out About The Injury At Daycare
Because many children in daycare cannot talk or easily explain what happened to them, it is important to take your child to a hospital or urgent care center to get evaluated for any serious injuries. Many permanent or life-threatening injuries are not visible if you were to just look at your child. Such as a brain injury, internal organ damage, and broken bones.
Then, you will want to follow up with a pediatrician, who can evaluate your child and determine what future treatment is needed. A pediatrician will also be able to refer you to specialists if your child’s injury requires them to such.