What If Your Child Is Injured or Abused at a Day Care Facility?July 18, 2018 | Category: Child Injuries | Share
Every day thousands of Florida children are cared for at day care facilities. The vast majority of day care centers are safe places where parents can leave their children without worrying. However, if your child is injured, it is natural for you to be concerned. You want to know whether the day care facility could be liable by not providing the expected standard of care.
A recent NBC2 investigation showed that some day care facilities were found to have Class 1 violations with the Department of Children & Families (DCF). In April 2018, a day care center in Fort Myers was forced by DCF to shut down after four children were found alone inside. Police arrested the employee who left the building unattended. In Cape Coral, a child care employee was caught on tape placing her hand on a child's throat and pushing him backwards.
In March of this year, a St. Augustine, Florida family blamed their 5-month-old girl's home-based day care for traumatic head injuries that required two days of hospitalization. The child’s face was puffed up, scratched up, her eye was closed shut, and there was a big bruise in the middle of her forehead. Investigation into the facts of the incident is ongoing, according to First Coast News.
Licensed child care programs are regulated and monitored.
Choosing a licensed child care program means that your child care provider is regulated and monitored by a state licensing agency. Licensing regulations generally address:
- Health and safety measures to help protect your child from injury and illness
- Ratio and group sizes
- Background checks of adults who work in the child care facility
- Physical environment of the program
- Education and ongoing required training
The legal responsibilities of a Florida day care center (including its staff, employees, and child care providers) are delineated in the Florida Statutes, the Florida Administrative Code, and Florida Case Law. The child care providers in Florida are monitored and regulated by Florida’s DCF.
Reasonable standard of care
Florida DCF says that day care facilities have a duty to provide a “reasonable standard of care” to your child, which should include, but is not limited to:
- Competent and trained staff members
- Reasonable supervision via proper staff to child ratio
- Reasonably safe environment for the child
- Proper inspection and maintenance of the day care interior and exterior areas to be sure they are in a reasonable safe condition
- Safe transportation and driving when the day care provides such services.
Legal recourse for injury
Any violations of the duty to provide a reasonable standard of care may be grounds for a negligence lawsuit. According to DCF, these violations may include:
- Failing to supervise children properly;
- Maintaining unsafe premises; or
- Violating a statute, such as by committing a crime.
To establish a claim of negligence, it must be proven that the day care had a duty of care, breached the duty of care, and then because of that breach, caused an injury to a child.
There are two issues which need to be considered. These are the cause of the injury or how the injury occurred and the nature of the injury and whether or not it was foreseeable.
- Cause of injury/how the injury occurred: Was there adequate supervision? Was the employee, or employees, doing something outside the course and scope of their responsibilities?
- Nature of the injury/was it foreseeable: A court, when evaluating the situation, will consider whether or not the circumstances were ones that a reasonable day care facility should have prevented such as being injured on playground equipment that needed repairs.
Florida law regarding child abuse
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines child abuse as any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child.
“If your child is injured or mistreated while at a day care facility which results in a serious injury, please contact us to determine whether the facility should have legal liability. We at Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. have the experience to assist you,” said Fort Myers Child Injury Lawyer, Randall Spivey.
Fort Myers Child Injury Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.