My Child was Injured at Daycare. What Are My Legal Options?

David Monteleone
Illinois Accident and Wrongful Death Lawyer

  Posted  |  Category : Personal Injury Attorney

Personal Injury AttorneyFormal or informal daycare is a way of life for many Illinois families. In fact, roughly a third of young children attend a daycare facility on a regular basis.

Organized daycares often have high quality workers, but the children are little more than numbers. Important information, like food allergies, sometimes gets lost in translation. Other children stay with babysitters or in informal care centers. These environments have a personal touch, but the workers are often dangerously under qualified.

If your child or grandchild was injured at daycare, you might have legal options, as outlined below.

Falls

These incidents are among the leading causes of head injuries in young children. The injury could be a slip and fall injury or a fall from a height. The latter incidents usually involve playground equipment. These wounds are especially severe if the play equipment is built on a hard surface, as opposed to a rubber or other soft surface.

Legally, daycare owners are responsible for these injuries if the victim was lawfully on the land at that time. That definition includes regularly enrolled children, drop-ins, daycare visitors, and almost everyone else. Owners have no duty towards trespassers, which are people without permission to be on the land. Kids who use play equipment after hours are in a grey area.

Additionally, a Rockford personal injury attorney must prove the owner knew about the fall hazard. Evidence on this point could be direct, like a restroom cleaning report, or circumstantial, like a longstanding loose chain on a swing set.

Anaphylaxis

Some children have extremely strong reactions to foods, insect bites, and other allergens. The symptoms of anaphylaxis are truly frightening. Almost without warning, the child’s tongue swells up, making it almost impossible to breathe. Many daycare workers are so scared that they hesitate for a few moments before they act. In this context, a few moments could be the difference between life and death.

The duty of care is generally clear in these cases. If a parent or other caregiver informs the daycare of the allergy, the daycare has a responsibility to ensure the child does not come into contact with the allergen. Also, the daycare must ensure all employees, whether they are new or not, are aware of the potentially dangerous situation.

Dog Bites

Animal attacks often cause severe emotional and physical wounds, especially if the victim is a young child. Daycares often allow young children to play near dogs. In Illinois, dog bite victims have several legal options, including:

  • Strict Liability: Owners are strictly liable for attack injuries. Victims need only prove cause. However, many jurors award limited damages in these situations, because they feel the attacks were accidental.
  • Scienter (Knowledge): Owners are also liable for damages if they knew the dog was potentially vicious. Evidence on this point includes pre-attack behavior, like aggressive barking or baring of teeth and previous attacks against other people.
  • Negligence: This theory might be the most common one in day care dog bite claims. Essentially, negligence is a lack of ordinary care. So, it is negligent for a daycare teacher to let children play near a strange animal.

Negligence claims often involve third party liability, employers and landlords are often responsible for these injuries.

Rely on an Experienced Attorney

Daycare owners are legally responsible for most daycare injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Rockford personal injury lawyer, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. Home and hospital visits are available.