Accidents and Injuries in Day Care Centers
Hectic schedules often force parents to juggle fast-paced jobs with family, posing a difficult problem for most. Many parents today rely on the help of day care centers for their children so that they can find time for other important things. Entrusting a child care facility with your child’s life is a serious decision and requires a good amount of research. Unfortunately, not all day care centers in Florida are 100% safe, and sometimes accidents can occur that leave children with injuries. At such times, who bears responsibility for the injury? Are you, as a parent, entitled to any compensation? How can you ensure your child’s safety? To answer these questions, consider the following concepts.
As in other states in the US, Florida’s regulations and codes of conduct govern the operations of day care centers within the state’s jurisdiction. Authorities conduct inspections of the day care facilities and issue citations to day care centers that violate code. Accidents and injuries that occur in day care centers with code violations on record are prima facie cases, with the day care center automatically assumed negligent leading up to the injuries. This, in turn, makes pursuing compensation a straightforward affair. However, things may not be as clear when there is no obvious code violation and, in such situations, additional legal concepts and discussions pertain.
Daycare Contracts and Release Forms
Most day care centers provide special release forms that parents are supposed to sign before leaving children in their care. Although each day care center can design its own release forms, many of the forms in use include two main sections:
- Emergency medical treatment–in this section, parents authorize the day care center to make medical decisions on behalf of the children and/or their parents if the children are injured while at the day care center and their parents are not immediately reachable. This provision is obviously reasonable, and most courts allow it stand day care release forms.
- Indemnity clauses–these special provisions release the day care center and all its representatives from any and all liability if children are injured while under their care. But this provision is more like a bluff meant to deter uninformed parents from suing the day care centers, and most courts in Florida hardly ever attach any significance to it for two main reasons: it simply encourages negligence on the part of the day care centers by removing accountability, and parents should not have the right to keep their children from suing day care centers since the children and not the parents get injured.
Pursuing Compensation for Day Care injuries
Florida laws entitle parents of injured children at day care centers to pursue compensation for injury compensation provided they are able to prove the following:
- That the day care facility had duty of care for the injured children
- That the day care facility violated its duty of care while the children were in its custody
- That the breach was a legally acceptable cause of the injuries suffered by the children
- That the accident causing the injury could have been foreseen by a prudent day care facility
- That the extent of the injuries suffered by the children justifies compensation. The amount of compensation pursued should be commensurate to the injuries suffered.
Oftentimes the language used in these contracts and waivers are meant to confuse parents into thinking that the daycare is not liable for any accidents, which is not always the case. If your child has fallen victim to an accident at a privately owned daycare center we recommend that you contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately. For over 20 years our law firm has investigated hundreds of negligence cases and are experienced in holding organizations responsible for damages cause by this negligence. Contact our Miami injury law firm today by phone at 305-441-0440 or toll free at 1-866-597-4529. You can also reach us by email at [email protected] and we are always available via Skype or FaceTime.