Daycare Injury Guide: accidents, abuse, lawyers & lawsuits
Daycare Insurance Policies & Insurer Tricks
The daycare facility you take your child to has insurance to cover accidents. One version of it is called premises liability. Premises liability covers accidents happening on the property, including accidents on the playground and in the parking lot.
The important part about premises liability is that it only covers accidents. This is where the burden of proof becomes relevant. We need to be able to prove the injury was caused by culpable negligence or intentionally inflicted. Crooked daycare providers think they can be tricky because the kids are so young and unable to express themselves as well as adults, but we find all the relevant details to prove your child was criminally injured or abused.
Outrageous Daycare Insurance Coverages:
- Professional liability/errors and omissions (for negligent supervision)
- Hundreds of thousands of dollars in Child Abuse coverage
- Defenses for administrative hearings related to allegations of child abuse
- Volunteers can be covered for abuse and negligence
- Coverage for negligent or criminal medication dispensing
- Coverage for negligent or criminal food preparation
- Auto transportation coverage for non-owned auto liability
Beating Daycare Abuse/Negligence Insurance Companies
You’re fighting insurance companies and all their resources when you’re fighting against a daycare to make sure damages, medical bills, and other bills are covered after your child is injured or abused. You probably can’t do this alone, and definitely, don’t want to. Insurance companies know plenty of tricks to get their clients off the hook for liabilities and have no compunctions about using those tricks.
Luckily, you have Warshafsky and all of our vast resources to combat the numerous defenses a daycare and their insurance company may have to protect them from culpability. Your children need the protection. Let us help.
Justice needs to be served in the case of children more than anyone else because they are our future.
Many Forms of Daycare, Many Forms of Abuse
For most parents, especially single parents, daycare is a necessity if they have a job (and if you have a child, a job is virtually a necessity). Unfortunately, no daycare provider can possibly give a child the love and attention a parent can. Accidents happen and, even worse, abuse and neglect happen. When it does, Warshafsky Law is here to make sure they pay for the harm they cause.
Daycare takes many forms, from small, unlicensed providers working out of their homes to nationally franchised facilities that are licensed with the state. No matter how good the daycare center is, though, parents always have a “what if?” in the back of their minds when their children are in someone else’s care. “What if there’s an accident? What if someone hurts my child? Or molests her?” The questions are endless.
As it turns out, there’s reason to worry. In 2007, the National Institute of Child Health Development conducted a study on the state of day care in America. Their study concluded that most daycare operations offered only “fair” or “poor” care. Only 10% of the daycare facilities were rated as providing high-quality care.
Types of child abuse at daycare centers:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
Regulated Child Care—What is it and why does it matter?
Under Wisconsin law, there are three classifications of daycare providers: Unregulated, Certified and Licensed. These classifications determine how many children can be under a daycare provider’s care.
As you might expect, regulated child care facilities are preferable because they are required to conduct background checks of employees, have regular inspections and comply with complaint investigations. There are 4 types of regulated child care:
- Certified Care (3 or fewer children under the age of 7)
- Licensed Family Child Care (up to 8 children under the age of 7)
- Licensed Group Child Care (9 or more children under age 7)
- Day Camp (seasonal programs for 4 or more children ages 3 and up)
|Type of Family Child Care||Maximum Number of Children Under Age 7||Maximum Group Size|
Signs Your Child May Be Suffering From Abuse at a Daycare Center
Beyond talking with your child and getting him/her to tell you about their experience at the daycare center, there are warning signs to watch for:
Changes in behavior/extreme mood swings
Children who become uncharacteristically shy, withdrawn or depressed can indicate they’re hiding something. At the other extreme, children who become aggressive (kicking, biting, hitting) may be doing so in response to the abuse they’ve suffered at the daycare center.
Inappropriate interest in sexual matters
Children who have been molested will sometimes act out the sexual activity or show knowledge of it beyond what is normal for their age.
Fear or anxiety at the daycare center or toward an employee
It’s fairly common for young children to occasionally carry on when being dropped off at a daycare center. When it’s a regular thing, and when they show fearfulness or anger on a regular basis, it becomes difficult to dismiss their behavior as a tantrum. If your child expresses fear about anyone at the daycare center, take them seriously and start asking questions about what is going on.
Bruises, cuts and other unexplained injuries
Most daycare centers will inform parents of any injuries a child sustains while in their care. In fact, they’re required to write it up. When injuries occur on an ongoing basis, particularly bruises on the wrists, forearms, and buttocks, and the child cowers at sudden movements or when being touched, there’s reason to suspect physical abuse is taking place at the daycare center.
When a child reverts to infantile behavior, such as bed wetting, thumb sucking, and excessive clinginess, it can be a sign of emotional issues brought on by verbal or sexual abuse.
Children don’t handle trauma well. Typically, they internalize it to the point it comes out in bad dreams and night terrors.
Irritation or infection of genital region
Any infection, itchiness, or soreness around the genitals is always a cause for concern. If your child complains of any of these, make an appointment with your pediatrician and get his/her input on possible causes.
How do you know if a daycare center is good or not?
Wisconsin has a rating system for daycare centers to help inform parents about the quality of daycare facilities they may be considering. The program is called YoungStar and allows parents to see a detailed list of any violations at a daycare center over the past three years.
How do you file a complaint against a child care provider?
If you have concerns about the care your child is receiving or the conditions at a daycare center, you can file a complaint with the Bureau of Early Care Regulation Regional Licensing Office in Madison.
However, if your child has been physically or emotionally harmed at a daycare center, you should contact an attorney. Our Milwaukee personal injury attorneys have extensive experience fighting for the rights of victims of abuse. Besides bills for medical care, you may also be facing bills for psychological counseling of your child. Let us help get you the money you need to put your child’s life back on track.
Be aware that as attorneys we can only pursue a civil claim against a daycare provider to get compensation for damages you and your family have suffered as a result of the abuse. This is known as a negligence suit, which is filed when a daycare provider has been negligent in their obligation to keep children in their care safe. The police investigating the incident will decide whether to pursue criminal charges against the daycare provider.
Common causes of daycare center negligence and neglect:
- Failure to properly screen employees for criminal records
- Hiring someone with a known history of abuse (of any kind)
- Not doing anything to stop abuse when it became known to them
- Inadequate supervision of children or employees
- Unsafe or unhealthy conditions in the daycare center
What is the difference between negligence and neglect?
Both negligence and neglect are grounds for legal action against a daycare provider, but what is the difference between the two?
Neglect is the failure of someone to care for a child after being entrusted to care for the child.
Negligence is the failure to meet the legal duty a daycare provider has to fulfill their duties.
What is the Statute of Limitations for filing suit against a daycare center?
Wisconsin has a very lenient statute of limitations on civil claims pertaining to child abuse. Any legal action must be brought to the court before the victim reaches the age of 35. The statute of limitations for criminal cases is even more lenient: no limitation for first degree sexual assault and for second degree sexual assault the action must be brought to the court before the victim reaches the age of 45.
Don’t wait to pursue legal action against a daycare center
Obviously, if your child has been harmed in any way while at a daycare center, you will want justice. And the sooner, the better. While it’s good to pursue legal action promptly, while the details of what happened are fresh in everyone’s mind, there is no need to rush your decision on hiring a law firm. Look for one with a proven record of fighting—and winning—for their clients.
Warshafsky Law is known throughout Wisconsin, and the US, for aggressively pursuing lawsuits and securing huge settlements and judgments. As a result of our work, entire industries have been forced to change the way their products and their practices so as to not cause harm to others. You can learn more about the impact we’ve had in Society Changing Judgments.