Unintentional injuries, like the ones that occur at many area daycares, are the leading cause of death among children under 19. Such incidents also prompt more than nine million emergency room visits per year. When a child is seriously injured, the entire family suffers. Many times, that suffering lasts a lifetime.
Intentional daycare injuries are a serious issue as well. The number of child welfare responses has increased 10 percent since 2013. These incidents include physical, verbal, sexual and other kinds of abuse. There are probably a great number of other incidents that go unreported, largely because small children fear retaliation from powerful adults.
In both of these situations, the daycare owner is usually responsible for damages. These damages usually include compensation for economic losses such as medical bills, as well as noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. A Rockford personal injury attorney may be able to obtain additional punitive damages as well.
Unintentional Daycare Injuries in Rockford
Either the people who work at the facilities, or the facilities themselves, may cause unintentional daycare injuries. Legally, owners are responsible for both.
Vehicle wrecks are a good illustration of employee negligence. Many times, inexperienced drivers operate large and unwieldy daycare buses. That’s especially true in emergency substitution situations.
In cases like these, the owner is usually responsible. The respondeat superior rule applies if the tortfeasor (negligent actor):
- Was an employee
- Was working in the scope of employment at the time of the injury.
Generally, Illinois courts define these key terms in broad, victim-friendly terms.
Playground injuries are another good example of facility negligence. Sometimes, playground equipment is old and poorly maintained. Additionally, the ground below the playground equipment is often hard and packed. Most caregivers will not be surprised that young boys are more likely than young girls to sustain serious injuries, such as fall-induced head injuries.
Legally, these injuries are premises liability matters. In Illinois, the landowner is legally responsible for these injuries if:
- The owner owed a legal duty to the victim, and
- The owner knew, or should have known, about the property hazard.
Children usually have permission to be on the land, so there is usually a legal duty. Additionally, victim/plaintiffs may use either direct or circumstantial evidence to establish actual or constructive knowledge.
Intentional Daycare Injuries
Morally, individuals are responsible when they abuse children in any way. But legally, the daycare owner may be responsible for the damages. Two legal theories usually apply:
- Negligent Hiring: If employers hire incompetent workers and these workers commit intentional torts, like assault, the employer/owner may be responsible for damages. Special rules may apply if the alleged incompetency involves a criminal record.
- Negligent Supervision: Sometimes, the hiring itself is not a problem, but employers fail to properly supervise their employees. This negligent supervision could be a lack of oversight or the lack of proper discipline over a prior incident.
In all injury cases, victim/plaintiffs must establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). If the victim/plaintiff’s case is strong enough, the matter usually settles out of court and on favorable terms.
Rely on Dedicated Attorneys
Daycare owners are generally responsible for injuries that occur on daycare premises or at daycare activities. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Rockford, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. Home and hospital visits are available.