Nothing is worse for a parent than getting a phone call that your child has been seriously injured or killed. Yet for thousands of parents across the United States, this becomes a reality at a time when they have no control over the situation—while the child is at a daycare facility. When you get that call, you need to know there is a daycare accident lawyer you can call to discuss your legal options.
At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., as Houston daycare injury lawyers, we understand how sensitive and enraging these matters are. You trusted your child’s welfare to someone who held themselves out as qualified and they failed to do their job. Call a Houston injury lawyer today for a free consultation at (713) 932-0777.
Is a Daycare Liable for an Injury to a Child?
Daycares are responsible and thus liable for injury to a child while in their care if the injury occurs because the employees failed to act as an ordinarily prudent person would have acted under the same circumstances. Was the injury due to neglect? Was the facility where the injury occurred unsafe? Were the serious injuries caused by another child or a teacher with a history of violent behavior? Many questions must be asked and answered when a child is injured while under a daycare’s custody to determine whether they are liable for daycare negligence and failure to meet minimum standards.
Child Care Statistics
Sadly, childcare workers are often overworked and underpaid. In 2017, a study by Child Care Aware showed that over 1,345,000 children under the age of 6 needed childcare in Texas. Almost 15 million kids under the age of 6 need childcare nationwide. In Texas, 56,660 daycare workers are paid an average wage of $20,700.00 annually. We pay so little to whom we trust with so much. When something goes wrong, you need a daycare accident lawyer you can trust. Call our Houston daycare injury lawyers at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. at (713) 932-0777 for a free no-obligation consultation regarding your child’s case.
How Child Care Accidents Happen
Negligent Supervision by Daycare Workers
There are many ways in which children can suffer injuries while in a daycare facility. Most of these fall under the umbrella of negligent supervision of the daycare workers and/or inadequate job training, meaning the provider did not pay close enough attention to the child. Some of the most common daycare injuries to toddlers involving this include the following:
- Spinal cord injuries to toddlers from trying to crawl out of cribs and falling or getting fingers pinched or broken;
- Injuries to infants from rolling off changing tables, such as a traumatic brain injury;
- Choking injuries on food, toys, or small objects;
- Broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, or another injury from horseplay as a result of falling off swings and other play structures.
All of the above injuries can and should be prevented with adequate daycare provider supervision. A Houston daycare injury lawyer at Simmons & Fletcher, P.C. can help you hold the at-fault party accountable.
Injury Due to Defective Toys, Strollers, Cribs, or Equipment
Unwatched toddlers in cribs can injure themselves trying to escape. The Consumer Product Safety Commission monitors reports of defective children’s products and order recalls when they prove to be unsafe. Your childcare provider has an obligation to keep up-to-date on what items are not safe to be around your children. Some examples of items recalled that your daycare should not be using are as follows:
- IKEA Folding Children’s Tent;
- Little Tykes Toy Workshop;
- Phil&teds USA Table-top Clip-on Chair;
- Push-n-Snap Cabinet Locks.
If your child is injured by a defective product, call our Houston daycare injury attorneys at Simmons & Fletcher, P.C. to determine whether the daycare facility or provider in your case breached their duty of care and schedule your free consultation regarding your legal rights: (713) 932-0777.
Child Abuse and Child Neglect
Unfortunately, not every injury to a child at a daycare facility is an accident. We have seen injury cases for striking and hitting children up to cases of abuse where a child was intentionally placed into scalding hot water suffering 3rd-degree burns. If you suspect that your child has been the victim of child abuse or neglect while at a daycare facility, call us for a free consultation and legal advice.
Know the Signs of Abuse
Children who have been abused may not always show physical signs, especially if they are victims of sexual abuse or special needs children. They may even be threatened and scared into not talking by their abuser. It is important to watch for changes in your children’s behavior and/or personality and to take action if you fear your child is being abused. Some of the most common signs of abuse are:
- Fear of going places they used to go regularly such as daycare;
- Expressing fear of a particular person;
- Regressing in their behaviors such as;
- Refusing to talk;
- Clinging to parents;
- Acting out or rebelling;
- Extreme swings in their mood or attitude;
- Showing unusual interest in sexual activities;
- Slower than normal mental development as compared to peers;
- Poor grades in school;
- Low self-esteem, anxiety, or depression;
- Physical signs of injury.
Do I Have to Report Suspected Child Abuse?
Texas law requires an adult who has knowledge of a child being abused to report it. Failure to report child abuse is a crime in Texas. If you know that your child or any child is being abused, call the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Abuse Hotline: 1-800-252-5400.
Furthermore, if you suspect that your child may be abused, seek medical advice immediately. Talk to your pediatrician about your concerns.
Can a Child’s Daycare Be Liable for Injury In Daycare Vehicles?
When a daycare transports your child, they take on the same obligations and duties that a parent would when transporting them. If the daycare driver was drunk driving and caused an accident, they may be held liable for injury caused thereby, similar to liability in motorcycle accidents and bicycle accidents. A motorcycle accident lawyer would demand the liable party to pay.
If they leave your child in the daycare van and she suffers from heatstroke, the daycare may be liable. If your child is injured due to the conduct of other students inside the vehicle, the daycare may be liable if it can be shown that the driver failed to supervise the children as an ordinarily prudent person would have done. Drunk driving accidents and lack of supervision of children can quickly result in serious injury or death. In catastrophic cases like these, you have the right to pursue a claim. Make sure to contact our child injury lawyers as soon as possible to take action before the statute of limitations deadline passes.
Licensing and Insurance Issues in Texas Daycares
Unfortunately, licensing and insurance requirements can be a problem in Texas daycares. The State of Texas does not impose strict licensing and insurance requirements on many daycare facilities. Texas divides childcare facilities into three categories for regulation purposes:
- Licensed Family Homes;
- Registered Child Care Homes, and;
- Licensed Child Care Homes.
The regulations and restrictions that apply to the people watching your child vary based on its classification. None of them are required to carry liability insurance. This can leave small mom-and-pop daycares to shut down and file bankruptcy to avoid liability when they injure a child. Furthermore, it is possible that homeowner’s insurance does not cover child injuries that occur on the property while conducting a business activity such as operating a daycare. Thus, a home-run daycare center is rarely covered by liability insurance and their owners are often judgment-proof in Texas.
For more reading on this, please see:
- Is Your Daycare Even Regulated?
- Paul H. Cannon Discusses the Importance of Vetting Home Daycare Centers.
Compensation for Daycare Injuries to Children in Houston, TX
If your child was injured at daycare or suffered fatal injuries in an accident at a daycare in Houston, your family has the right to demand the liable party be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Although local law enforcement officials will handle any criminal charges that may be appropriate, you and your family have the right to seek compensation for your losses through a child’s injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit.
Economic damages describe every financial loss associated with your child’s injuries. Examples of potentially recoverable economic damages in a daycare injury lawsuit include:
- Parent’s loss of income;
- Parent’s diminished earning capacity;
- Unexpected childcare expenses;
- Your child’s medical bills (including ambulance bills);
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses;
- Cost of mental health counseling and ongoing medical treatment.
Non-economic damages can be just as impactful as economic losses, and sometimes, more so. Not even any damages do not have a set monetary value, which means they must be quantified by our personal injury attorneys to determine their worth. Since they are entirely subjective, the impact of non-economic damages can vary widely on a case-by-case basis. Examples of non-economic damages in daycare injury claims include:
- The parent’s pain and suffering;
- The child’s pain and suffering;
- The family’s emotional distress;
- Diminished quality of life of the child and family members;
- The child’s fear, anticipation, and shock;
- Permanent disability;
- Psychological distress and mental anguish;
- Skin scarring and disfigurement.
Punitive damages are not a compensatory loss, so they are not something you should plan on being awarded for your daycare accidents claim. However, if the daycare facility or healthcare providers employed by the daycare have repeatedly had complaints made against them or are found to have engaged in egregious, grossly negligent, or intentionally harmful actions that injured your child, the court system may find it appropriate to award punitive damages in your case. This should not be taken as legal advice. Our Houston daycare injury lawyers handle daycare injury cases and other types of personal injury claims. Call today to find out how our firm in Houston can help you file a lawsuit and demand justice: (713) 932-0777.
What Does it Cost to Talk to a Daycare Accident Lawyer in Houston?
Consultations with our experienced Houston daycare accident lawyers in Houston, TX, are always free. Contact us today if your child has been abused, neglected, or injured at a daycare facility, so a Houston daycare injury attorney can make sure you know your rights. Put our years of experience winning trial verdicts and settlements to work for you and your family. If our law firm in Houston takes on your case or situation, we will investigate the claim, determine whether there is insurance coverage, negligence, and potential liability, and advise you of your rights.
Our Houston personal injury attorneys do not charge you a dime unless we recover a settlement or judgment for you. We highly recommend you call an experienced personal injury lawyer at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. today at (713) 932-0777 for your free case evaluation.