Can I Sue a Daycare for Negligence?

March 22, 2019

Millions of American parents trust daycare facilities and other childcare services to supervise their children while they work, but what happens when a child suffers an injury at a daycare center? When a parent gets the call that his or her child is injured at daycare, the parent should know the legal options if negligence caused the injury.

Some daycare injuries may be the typical scrapes and bruises all kids experience when playing outside, but others may occur due to poor supervision, general negligence, or even abuse. If a daycare employee causes an injury to a child in any way, the child’s parents should take appropriate legal action and contact a Phoenix daycare negligence attorney.

Determining Negligence in a Daycare Injury Case

If a child suffers an injury at daycare, the child’s parents may decide to pursue a civil claim for damages and to hold the daycare responsible for negligence. Daycare injuries can also lead to criminal charges against the responsible party. In any personal injury case, the plaintiff must prove four main elements of negligence.

  • The plaintiff must establish the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff or the victim in the case. When a parent pays a daycare to supervise his or her child, the daycare has a duty of care to supervise the child responsibly and meet all aspects of the service contract with the parent.
  • Next, the plaintiff needs to show the court how the defendant breached the duty of care for the given situation. In a daycare injury case, an example may be a daycare employee failing to prevent an injury to a child because of distraction with a cell phone.
  • The plaintiff only has a claim if he or she suffered a measurable loss or some kind of actual harm, so the next element of proving negligence is providing evidence of the extent of the plaintiff’s damages.
  • Finally, the plaintiff must prove a link between the defendant’s negligence and the claimed damages.

Sometimes, negligence in a daycare injury case may involve an indirect issue or inaction, such as the daycare’s failure to maintain an acceptable staff-to-child ratio in accordance with state and local laws.

Daycares must also conduct extensive background checks into new employees to determine if they are fit to supervise children. If a daycare facility fails to conduct a background check and hires an employee with a history of child abuse, this would be a clear indication of negligence if that employee were to harm a child at the daycare.

Examples of Negligence in Daycare Injury Cases

A daycare facility or an employee could face civil penalties or even criminal charges in many ways for a daycare injury.

  • Failure to maintain a clean premises free of safety hazards
  • Failure to keep harmful objects and choking hazards out of reach of the children
  • Inadequate staff-to-child ratio
  • Unacceptable hiring practices or failure to conduct required background checks on new employees
  • Poor supervision, such as failing to watch children at play on playground equipment and jungle gyms
  • Inadequate access to food and clean drinking water for children at the facility
  • Failure to maintain clear policies against all forms of abuse and neglect
  • Failure to maintain an appropriate cleaning and maintenance schedule
  • Inadequate access to first aid supplies
  • Negligent security, such as leaving doors or gates unlocked so children can wander unsupervised 

This is not an exhaustive list, and any Arizona parent who believes his or her child suffered a daycare injury due to negligence should consult a Phoenix personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A personal injury lawsuit could hold the negligent party accountable and help the family secure compensation for a child’s medical expenses and pain and suffering, the parent’s lost income, and other damages resulting from the incident.