Can You Sue a Daycare for Negligence?

Parents whose children suffer injuries at daycare due to negligence may have the right to file lawsuits seeking compensatory damages on behalf of their children. Parents entrust their children to the staff at daycare centers, expecting and assuming they will take all precautions to ensure their kids’ safety while in their care. While children may experience the occasional bruise or scrape when playing, learning, and growing, some injuries occur because of lapses in supervision and care by daycare facilities.

Negligence in the Daycare Setting

Negligence by daycare centers and staff may take a variety of forms. For example, caregivers failing to adequately maintain or repair facilities, allowing unsanitary conditions, violating the daycare safety code, and not providing proper supervision. Consequently, children may fall, have access to poisonous or otherwise dangerous materials, come into contact with furnishings or equipment in the daycare, or face other dangers that may cause them injuries.

Common Daycare Injuries

When daycare facilities and staff fall short on their duty to ensure the safety of the children in their care, kids may suffer a range of injuries, from minor to severe or fatal. Some of the most common types of injuries suffered by children at daycare include the following:

  • Cuts, bumps, and bruises
  • Bites
  • Broken bones and dislocations
  • Burns
  • Chipped or knocked-out teeth

Additionally, children may suffer unintentional poisoning, near-drowning and drowning, choking, and suffocation due to negligence on the part of daycare providers. Depending on the severity of their injuries, children who suffer harm while at daycare may require emergent medical treatment, as well as ongoing medical care. Even with insurance, such care often carries costs that may add up quickly for families.

Liability for Daycare Injuries

If a child was killed or injured at daycare due to negligence, his or her parents may choose to take legal action to obtain compensation on his or her behalf. To successfully recover damages in such claims, those pursuing compensation must establish that the daycare facility and staff owed their children a duty of care, show how that duty was breached, and establish a direct link between the alleged negligence and their children’s injuries. Additionally, they must prove the extent of their children’s losses, which may include the costs of up-to-date and future injury-associated medical treatments and pain and suffering.

Release Forms and Parents’ Right to Sue

Parents who sign release forms at their children’s admission to daycare centers may believe that doing so cost them their right to file a personal injury claim for injuries suffered because of negligence. Daycare centers often require parents to sign release forms or liability waivers when registering their children for care at the facility. Such documents typically include language that lets daycare facilities and staff off the hook for injuries suffered by children while under their care. In some cases, however, the court may take the stance that since it was the child who suffered the injury and not the parent who signed the liability waiver, the release should not hold, and the child should have the independent opportunity to file a personal injury claim.