Every day in the U.S., two dozen children die as a result of non-intentional injuries. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which further notes that 9 million children are treated in hospital emergency room every year and 225,000 of those require hospitalization.
Given the fact that a huge percentage of today’s young children attend day care for at least some portion of the day while their parents work (11 million, according to Child Care Aware of America), many of these injuries occur in a day care setting. There is a troubling tendency by some child care providers to take the approach that, “accidents happen.” In truth, accidents and child injuries are much more likely at facilities where proper safety guidelines are not clear and where staffers are not adequately vetted or appropriately supervised.
Day cares in Florida have a duty to ensure children are safe from reasonably foreseeable harms. There is a lowered expectation of self protection when it comes to children. That is, we know that they are immature and undeveloped and thus do not fully appreciate certain dangers that we might consider open and obvious to an adult. Further, when a person or facility accepts the responsibility of caring for that child, a special relationship is established that requires them to exercise a heightened duty of care.
A number of recent cases of reported day care injuries across the country should alert parents to the possible dangers and of the rights they may have to compensation.
One recent case out of Birmingham, AL involves a toddler who was seriously injured after he was struck in the head by a falling television. According to AL.com, the child was asleep on the floor when another child tripped over an exposed cord. That caused a television set that was on a dresser to fall on top of the boy, resulting in severe head trauma and other injuries. His parents say he is continuing to receive speech and physical therapy, and it could be some time before the full extent of his head injuries are known.
They have since filed a lawsuit against the day care, alleging the workers failed to use reasonable care in ensuring the site was free from foreseeable harms because they did not properly secure the television or put away the exposed cords. The family is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages. The day care has reportedly responded to the complaint by alleging the child’s condition was the result of existing injury, infirmity or disease. The parents deny this, saying he was “completely healthy” prior to this incident.
There is concern about whether the facility had liability insurance at the time of the accident.
Another day care injury lawsuit was recently weighed by the Ohio Supreme Court. In World Harvest Church v. Grange Mut. Cas. Ins. Co., a day care center that was part of a megachurch was ordered to pay $2.87 million in damages to the family of a child who was struck repeatedly by a day care worker. The question before the state high court was whether that action was intentional misconduct or corporal punishment. If it was the latter, the day care’s liability insurer would be responsible to pick up the tab for $1.47 million. However, the court ruled the worker’s actions amounted to intentional misconduct, meaning the church would be responsible for the entire amount.
If your child has been injured as a result of poor care or supervision at a day care in Florida, we can help.
If you have been a victim of a traffic accident, call Chalik & Chalik at (954) 476-1000 or 1 (800) 873-9040.
World Harvest Church v. Grange Mut. Cas. Ins. Co., May 12, 2016, Ohio Supreme Court
More Blog Entries:
Florida Supreme Court Ends Attorney Fee Caps on Workers’ Compensation, May 15, 2016, Miami Injury Attorney Blog