Child Care Negligence
All too frequently do we hear about day care understaffing, overcrowding, or safety issues. There is nothing more terrifying to a parent than the idea that someone has endangered or treated your child with negligence. When you leave your son or daughter with a day care or child care provider, you put your trust in them to keep your child safe and out of harm’s way. If your child returns home with injuries or you have to rush out of work to meet an ambulance at the hospital, you might be wondering what options you have to protect your child and seek justice against the child care provider. We can walk you through common instances of child care negligence and how we might determine liability.
Child Care Negligence and Injuries
There are far too many child injuries that could result from negligence or abuse. These include the following:
- Falling, such as down a stairwell or from a point up high
- Drowning or unsafe conditions involving water
- Physical, verbal, and/or sexual abuse
- Inadequate access to food or water
- Choking or ingesting non-food objects
- Improper gating or fencing leading to children wandering away
- Exposure to chemicals, toxic substances, or sharp objects like unsafe scissors, rusty nails, and knives
However, there are more instances where a child might be put in danger or exposed to negligence. Please contact us and we can go over your situation and options in a free consultation.
Determining Liability in Child Care Injuries
The Illinois Premises Liability Act maintains that a property owner or property owner owes visitors or “entrants” onto that land a duty of reasonable care. Child care providers are not required to provide a higher level of care to children (than to adults), but they must meet the duty of reasonable care. Making claims for child care negligence falls under Illinois tort law, which covers personal injury and premises liability.
There are some elements for determining liability when making a child care negligence claim:
- That the child care provider had a duty to exercise reasonable care under the Illinois Premises Liability Act
- That the child care provider breached that duty
- That but for the child care provider’s actions (or lack of action), the child’s injury would not have occurred
- That because of the breach, the child was injured and that injury was proximately caused by the breach
Depending on the situation in which your child was hurt, negligence per se may apply. Negligence per se is an act that is by its very nature negligent because it violates a statute. In this case, it would have to violate the Illinois Child Care Act. For example, the Act requires at least one staff member to be certified in first aid and on premises during hours of operation. If there is only one staff member certified in first aid and he or she is not on premises at the time of your child’s choking accident, this may fall under negligence per se.
There are a few instances that make claims for child care negligence more difficult. One is that children, depending on age and maturity level, can be expected to avoid open and obvious danger. Another is when children have wandered to someone else’s property and gotten hurt.
Recovering Damages for Child Care Negligence
You may be able to file a claim against both the child care facility and the negligent individuals. You may wish to seek damages that include pain and suffering, medical bills, ongoing medical expenses for treatment like psychologist appointments.