Daycare Injury Attorney in Boston
Your child means the world to you, and you take your job as parent and protector seriously. That’s why you did your due diligence when searching for a daycare for your young child. You visited daycares, interviewed teachers, asked for references and reviewed handbooks. You might have even sat in on a class and observed how the teacher and aides interacted with the children.
However, despite your best efforts, your child suffered a serious injury while attending daycare, and you’re not sure what course of action you should take.
This is a common scenario facing many parents as the Boston daycare injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman know too well.Daycare Injuries by the Numbers
Take a look at the numbers: The National Center for Education Statistics reported in 2017 that more than 14 million preschool-aged children attend some form of daycare each day.
Now, take a look at statistics on daycare injuries. In Massachusetts, approximately 150 children are seriously injured and one child dies each year at daycares located in the state, according to a report by the Department of Early Education and Care. The department is responsible for overseeing and licensing childcare providers.
Boston 25 News recently reported that many daycare facilities in Massachusetts have fallen short in their duty to safeguard children in their care. For example, the news channel reported on a six-month-old infant attacked by a ferret while sleeping at a daycare facility and an 18-month-old toddler who was bitten multiple times by another toddler at a daycare. The mother in the biting case claimed that her child was not properly supervised and that the daycare failed to treat the bites or inform her of the incident.
Unfortunately, stories of personal injury and wrongful death at daycare facilities are not unusual.Types of Daycare Facilities
There are various types of daycares in Massachusetts and all have varying licensing, monitoring and childcare experience requirements.
- Childcare centers are licensed by the state and located in churches, community centers or other facilities.
- Family childcare takes place in a provider’s home with one adult supervising a small number of children.
- Family, friend or neighbor care providers care for a child in the provider’s home.
- Pre-schools are licensed by the state and located at a church or exist as part of a school program.
Children can suffer injuries while at daycare as a result of numerous factors, including:
- Inadequate or negligent supervision by teachers or staff
- Improperly trained staff
- An insufficient number of teachers or support staff to children
- Improperly maintained facilities or equipment
- Unsafe conditions on the daycare premises
- Defective playground equipment, toys or classroom objects
- Sports and other recreational activities
- Interactions with other children
- Failure of teachers or staff to respond in an appropriate manner when a child is injured or there is some other type of emergency
- Unsafe driving during transport
A daycare should be properly staffed for the number of children that it is supervising. Massachusetts daycare laws require daycares to have a safe ratio of staff to children and provide proper attention to each child. Ratios vary depending upon the age of the children receiving care.Common Types of Injuries at Daycare
There is a long list of injuries that a child can sustain while at daycare. Many are minor injuries like a scrape or bruise from a slip-and-fall accident on a playground. Other injuries are much more serious like a broken bone or concussion.
Here’s a list of common injuries that children sustain at daycare:
- Broken bones
- Head and neck injuries
- Choking or suffocation
- Sexual assault
It’s important to note that these injuries are preventable injuries when daycare staff is properly supervising the children in its care and the facilities and equipment have been maintained in a safe condition.What Should a Parent do if a Child has Been Injured at a Daycare?
First, seek prompt medical treatment for your child. If your child’s pediatrician is unavailable, go to an emergency room or an urgent care center. Make sure you tell the medical provider that the child was injured at a daycare center.
It’s crucial that your child see a physician immediately after the accident to prevent the daycare facility from attempting to dodge liability. Medical documentation is key to any recovery.
If there are indicators that your child was physically or sexually abused, the doctor is legally required to contact the authorities. Contact a child injury attorney immediately to protect your child.
Follow up with the school and ask if an incident report has been created and who was present at the time. Talk to anyone who might be able to provide a witness statement such as other parents, school bus drivers or neighbors. Document the incident to the best of your ability by taking detailed notes and using a cellphone to record injuries and anything else that might be relevant to your case. Continue to take pictures of your child’s injuries as your child recovers and note any behavioral changes such as bedwetting, nightmares or separation anxiety.
Your next step is to speak with an experienced Boston daycare injury attorney about the proper course of action. Don’t delay. An experienced personal injury lawyer can educate you about next steps to take to ensure that you, your child and your family are properly compensated for someone else’s negligence.
An attorney will help you understand your rights under the law and review all options that you have.
If the daycare’s insurance company contacts you about the incident, refer the insurer to your attorney and refrain from making any other statement or signing any documents. You’re under no obligation to speak to the insurance company.
An insurer might try to persuade you to accept a settlement and sign a general release of liability. An experience and skilled attorney will make sure that you get a full and fair settlement.Does a Daycare Release Form Prevent a Parent From Suing a Daycare?
The short answer is no.
Generally speaking, most release forms signed by parents allow the daycare to obtain emergency medical services for the child if the parent can’t be reached and requests release of liability if the child is injured while in its care.
In most cases, an emergency medical care release is valid and in the best interest of the child as a delay in medical treatment could result in more serious injury or even death.
However, liability or indemnity clauses, which say a daycare can’t be held liable for injury or harm to a child, usually don’t hold up in court. Typically, courts have found such releases to be against public policy and invalid.
If a daycare is citing a release of liability to refuse to pay for your child’s injury, you need to speak to a Boston child injury lawyer to review the facts of your case and protect your rights under the law.How to Prove a Daycare Provider is Liable
To be successful in a personal injury claim against a daycare’s insurance company, you and your attorney will have to show that:
- The daycare had a duty to protect your child from harm.
- The daycare breached its duty of care.
- The breach caused your child’s injuries.
- The injury was foreseeable by the daycare.
In addition, you must prove the nature and amount of your child’s damages. Again, this is where clear and strong evidence comes into play, especially since a young child might be unable to explain what happened. Medical records, photos and other pertinent information will be of paramount importance.Consult with an Experienced Daycare Injury Attorney in Boston
Even in the case of a minor injury claim involving a child, parents and guardians should contact a skilled and seasoned personal injury attorney. Daycare claims can be complicated, especially if there are multiple parties involved.
An experienced daycare property attorney will get you and your child the compensation you deserve for an injury, regardless of whether the claim is for an injury that is more minor in nature or involves serious and permanent injuries that can have a lifetime impact.
Remember, every daycare property accident and personal injury case is different. The key to a successful outcome is personalized legal advice tailored to your situation and the facts of your case.
The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman has successfully handled child injury and daycare premises liability cases on behalf of individuals in Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Lawrence and other areas of Massachusetts.
If you or a family member is dealing with a Massachusetts child injury, daycare property accident or any other personal injury case, contact the Boston personal injury lawyers and wrongful-death attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Call (617) 367-2900 – NO FEE UNLESS SUCCESSFUL