Lawsuits Involving Children Injured at Daycare

 

By William Bill Hurst

In August of 2008 in Greensburg, Indiana, a parent of a toddler dropped off their 2 year old daughter and two hours later a large console television fell on her daughter crushing her eye sockets, pallet, nose and cheekbone.  It will be many years before she’ll recover because of her age and how things grow.  Unfortunately this kind of an event is not uncommon.

Indy Channel 6, RTV6, ABC, RTV6 recently did an investigation reviewing a year’s worth of complaints validated by the State’s Family and Social Service Administration Bureau of Childcare and found daycare centers cited for various violations such as having too many children per staffer, staffers using alcohol and cigarettes around children, inappropriate discipline (such as biting and spanking), and even child abuse and neglect.  The Bureau of Childcare gets approximately 1,200 complaints a year and they follow up on all of them.  They have indicated that about 20% of the complaints are validated by State inspectors.  This information may be seen at the Family and Social Services Administration website.

Indiana law has designated the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration, a division of Family Resources, to regulate childcare in the State of Indiana.  Indiana has a number of rules and regulations which are be applicable to daycare centers created by the Indiana State Department of Health and the State Fire Marshall.  Here are the rules/regulations in Indiana.

In Indiana, the Bureau of Child Care conducts annual investigations regarding child abuse and negligence of employees and volunteers at daycare centers who have contact on a regular basis with children.  The Bureau of Child Care often involves Child Protective Services for checking sexual abuse claims in licensed daycare centers and licensed child care homes.  The Bureau of Child Care does not issue licenses or enter into any kind of informal agreement with a licensed home childcare provider when an incident of sexual abuse against a child has occurred.  The rights and licenses of a business where this occurs will be refused or revoked in case of such a finding.  www.daycare.com/Indiana and www.in.gov/fssa/2552.htm

The National Center for Education and Statistics indicate that 6 out of 10, that is nearly 13,000,000, infants, toddlers and preschool children are enrolled in childcare.  It is known that many children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries that occurred at childcare.  For example, in 1997 about 31,000 children four years old or younger were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for injuries that occurred in childcare settings. The most common injuries are cuts or lacerations (31%), bumps or bruises (15%), fractures (10%) and dental injuries (8%).  Most injuries, 51%, occur on the playground.  Many injuries (18%) and more than half of the fractures and concussions (53%) were due to falls from climbing equipment.  www.pediatrics.8appublications.orgcontent9334364.

Sometimes children are too young to inform parents about the abuses or injuries they’ve suffered in a daycare.  It is therefore very important to obtain immediate medical attention if you suspect your child has been injured or harmed in any way in order to determine the extent of the injuries.  While daycare centers should put the safety and care of children as their first priority, too often a child is left in the care of an underpaid or poorly trained daycare worker.  Daycare workers need training and supervision which they often do not have.  In addition, playground equipment and toys are often not maintained placing children in danger.

Tips for parents who want to check on the child care facility include:

1.) “Googling” the name of the facility to look for complaints and inspection reports.

2.) Call the FSSA Bureau of Child Care and ask questions to understand the State’s inspection findings.

3.) You should drop into the child’s daycare unexpectedly during the day from time to time and simply observe what’s going on!

4.) Always ask your daycare provider if they are on “probation” or if there are any issues regarding their license.

5.) Ask questions and understand the daycare’s discipline policy as corporal punishment is not illegal in the State of Indiana.

6.) Ask about the current child to staff ratio is important and accidents are more likely to happen when staffers are watching too many children www.ChildCareIndiana.org.

7.)  To see various daycare centers rating visit www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?…id

If you need more information about childcare facilities and inspection reports in the State of Indiana, contact a local resource and referral representative at 800-299-1627.

If your child gets hurt you should know that many daycare centers have insurance to provide medical benefits automatically without a claim for liability being made; and certainly before filing a lawsuit for your injured child, you will present a claim to the insurance carrier of the daycare facility.  When you do this you may want to have an attorney who specializes in personal injury law review your proposal to ensure you do not accidentally waive any of your child’s rights.  Certainly any claim that you make should protect your child, should include medical bills and compensation for any disability, pain and suffering.  Since a child is a minor it will be necessary to do a probate proceeding to appoint a guardian to sue (make claim) on behalf of the child.  Generally, the statute of limitations for a child is extended in most States.  However, the claim a parent may make is subject to the Statue of Limitations which in Indiana is 2 years from the date of the incident.

Our attorneys are constantly “shocked” by the negligence exhibited by some daycare workers who are entrusted with the safety of our children. Our law firm is dedicated to aggressively investigating and pursuing claims for injuries to children caused by careless daycare operators.  If your child has been injured due to the negligence of a daycare or its employees, contact the experienced injury lawyers at the office of William W. Hurst today.  For a free consultation call 1-800-636-0808.

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William W. Hurst

Bill Hurst has successfully represented hundreds of accident victims, and has limited his practice to personal injury cases for over thirty-five (35) years.


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