The Legal Rights of a Family Member Following a Child Death at Day Care

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It is every parent’s worst nightmare to receive news that a child was seriously injured or killed, and the death of any baby, toddler, or young adult is undoubtedly tragic. However, on August 17, 2017, the family of a three-year-old in Orlando received news of their son’s death by a particularly heartbreaking cause.

The young child was locked inside a day care center’s van for a number of hours and during the debilitating heat of summer in central Florida. When staff located the child hours later, it was too late, and Myles Hill was pronounced dead by paramedics who responded at the scene. Sadly, Myles wasn’t the only three-year-old to die in a day care’s hot van in Florida this year. Later in August in Pensacola, a three-year-old girl was found inside a day care’s van and rushed to the hospital after hours locked in the heat.

After these devastating incidents, it is common for family members to feel like helpless victims, but doesn’t have to be the response. Legal recourse after a child death at daycare is not only available but also handled by some of the top personal injury lawyers in Florida.

Who Is Responsible?

The first question a Florida personal injury lawyer will consider after the death of a child at day care or other third-party care provider is who was responsible for the care of the child when the death occurred. Typically, it is more than one person or entity that made commitments to care for the child in the parents’ absence, and often, these individuals and entities are the parties legally responsible for the child’s death. However, it is still necessary to have evidence of negligence or carelessness by these parties.

In the case of Myles Hill, a lawsuit was filed against three separate parties: the daycare employee that drove the van and neglected to check for Myles in the backseat, the owner of the daycare facility, and the Orlando daycare. Based on the facts of the case, it would seem that each of these parties is either directly or vicariously liable for the Myles death, and could be held responsible for financial compensation.

Of course, the facts of every case are unique, and the parties responsible for a child’s death at daycare are bound to be different based on the circumstances surrounding the death. It may not always be clear who acted negligently and how, but a child injury lawyer can help identify the responsible parties.

What Is the Appropriate Legal Action and Recovery?

In Florida, the death of a child at daycare, in-home childcare, after-school program, or other third-party care provider facility, frequently leads to a civil case brought by the parents or legal guardian of the child. These cases are governed by the Florida Wrongful Death Act and thus called wrongful death cases. The purpose of a wrongful death case is to provide a legal remedy for the death and legal recourse for recovering losses arising from it.

The Florida Wrongful Death Act further provides the potential types of recovery a parent can seek. Florida law states that when a child was under the age of 25, parents can legally seek damages for medical and funeral expenses and loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance, in addition to pain and suffering for the loss of a child. Each of these demands of damages can be brought against the various parties responsible for the child’s death.

In Florida, a wrongful death case on behalf of a minor child, resulting from a death at daycare or otherwise, must be filed within two years of the death. Known as the statute of limitations this is a strict time limit placed on possible recovery from the death.

If you have questions about this statute of limitations, other procedural requirements of a wrongful death case, or want to discuss your rights on behalf of a child injury in Florida, contact the experienced child injury lawyers at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers. Potential clients can reach a Florida attorney in our Miami office by calling 1-866-597-4529, or locally (305)-441-0440. Aronfeld Trial Lawyers can also be reached electronically at [email protected] or via SKYPE.

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