The injury of a child is every parent’s worst nightmare—so what happens when the people charged with supervising your children fail in their responsibilities? If your child slips, trips, or falls at daycare or school, you may have options for legal recourse. Depending on the situation, you may be able to hold the supervising staff or the organization itself responsible for your child’s injury.
It’s important to remember that you can only sue a school or daycare if they fail to prevent a reasonably foreseeable injury, such as tripping hazards or burn risks. You cannot sue the school or daycare for injuries resulting from extraordinary circumstances such as lightning strikes or freak accidents. If the daycare or school staff failed in their duty to provide reasonable care and supervision to your child under typical circumstances, you must hold them and the facility accountable.
Proving Fault for Child Injuries
As with any other personal injury lawsuit, if you file for damages against your child’s school or daycare for injuries your child suffered, your attorney must prove:
- The school or daycare has an obligation to protect your child from any foreseeable harm. Your attorney must establish the daycare or school has a duty to act with reasonable care during the supervision of your child.
- The school or daycare breached this duty in some way. Most child injuries incurred at schools and daycare facilities result from negligence or poor supervision.
- This breach of duty directly resulted in injury to your child. It’s imperative that you obtain a medical report of your child’s condition following the incident. Have your child seen by a physician as soon as possible after an incident occurs, even if there are no visible injuries, such as bruises or cuts.
If your attorney establishes these facts before a judge and demonstrates the event was the result of negligence, it is likely that you will win your case. In these cases, the compensation you receive for damages usually includes the cost of medical treatment, both emergency medical services immediately necessary at the time of the injury and the costs of any necessary subsequent treatments. For more severe damaging injuries such as burns or broken bones, you can pursue compensation for your child’s pain and suffering. If you took time away from work to address your child’s injury, you can also claim lost wages as part of your compensation.
A Release of Liability Forms
Daycares and schools often have parents sign a release of liability forms (also called waivers), intended to protect the organization from legal entanglements. However, a waiver rarely holds up as a viable defense in court. Most releases of liability forms include a clause authorizing the daycare or school to seek emergency medical attention as soon as the need arises rather than waiting for parental consent. This is reasonable and meant to be in the child’s best interest.
Waivers are written in a way that often dissuades parents of injured children from seeking legal recourse. The confusing jargon leads some parents to believe rights to legal counsel are waived when a release of liability form is signed. Courts agree daycares and schools must be held responsible if children are injured in their care.
Know Your Rights
Your child’s best interests are paramount. You must document your child’s injuries and obtain a medical report from a physician that details the extent of the injuries and any resulting conditions. If you believe you have cause to file a lawsuit, reach out to an attorney with a proven record of success and a commitment to client recovery. Contact SteinLaw today if your child suffered an injury in Florida. We will set up a free case evaluation for you.