My Child Was Injured At A Daycare – What Do I Do? (Washington State)

When you drop your child off at the daycare in the morning, you trust they will be safe. So when you get a call that your child is injured, your heart drops and your mind begins to race. If you’ve found yourself in this unfortunate situation, you might be wondering what should you do?

At Ladenburg Law, we’ve helped many families over the years seek justice on behalf of their injured children. Today we wanted to share some general information on steps you should take right after discovering your child’s injury. Also, we’ll talk about when you might consider suing your child’s daycare facility for damages.

What are Some Signs that Abuse is Happening at a Daycare?

Sometimes, there are signs that abuse or neglect may be happening at your child’s daycare. In particular, watch for:

  • Bruising or lacerations
  • Repeated injuries without explanation from the staff
  • Bite marks
  • Sudden mood change in your child, such as fearful to go to daycare
  • Child comes home very thirsty or hungry on multiple occasions
  • Staff is evasive or resistant to discussing your concerns

The important takeaway is that you should monitor your child’s physical and mental wellbeing. If you notice changes, pay attention.

What Steps Should I Take After My Child Has Been Hurt at a Daycare?

First, take a deep breath. (In fact, you may need to take a couple.) As emotionally-charged as the situation is, it’s important to keep a clear head so you can make good decisions. After all, your child needs you.

There are two steps we recommend you take right away:

  1. Get your child seen by a doctor. A doctor can evaluate the extent of the injuries and make sure your child gets adequate care early on. Make sure to inform the doctor that the incident happened while your child was at their daycare facility. Keep any medical or after-care reports.
  2. Take photos and make notes. It’s a good idea to photograph your child’s injuries while they are still new. You might also want to take photos of conditions that may have led to the accident. Also, document everything you can – the time you were phoned about the incident, who you spoke with, who was/was not working that day, and the story you were given by the daycare workers.

Our memories are not as reliable as we’d like to think. Taking early action such as gathering photos, notes, and medical records will help your case.

What Should I Do If the Injuries Aren’t Serious?

Unfortunately, accidents happen. The good news is that most of the time, injuries are not serious and temporary. While you and your child might be shaken by what happened, a lawsuit might not be your best course of action in this case.

But, that doesn’t mean you’re without options. Here are some ideas:

  • Work it out with the daycare facility.  Is the owner apologetic? If so, see if they can put steps in place to avoid another incident. Your confidence will depend on your past history with the facility and their response following your child’s injury.
  • File a complaint. In the State of Washington, you can call 1-866-END-HARM to share your concerns. This will generate action. A licensed investigator will review the facility within 5 days.
  • Find a new facility. You may decide that it’s time to move your child to another daycare. Visit Child Care Aware to view background checks, license information, and past violations for Washington State daycare facilities.

Not sure how serious the injuries are? Or, maybe you just want to run what happened past an attorney with experience in this area? Don’t hesitate to call us. There’s never a fee for an initial evaluation of your case. We’re always happy to help people understand their legal options.

What Should I Do If the Injuries Are Serious?

There are times when it’s clear your child’s injury isn’t minor or going to go away in a couple days. In the State of Washington, there were 353 serious injuries and 82 child abuse incidents at daycares in a three-year period spanning from 2016 to 2019.

What makes up a “serious” injury? Some of these include:

  • Injury requiring overnight hospital stay
  • Severe neck or head injury
  • Severe bleeding
  • Broken bone
  • Near-drowning
  • Poisoning
  • Severe burn requiring professional medical care
  • Medication overdose
  • Chemicals in eyes, on skin, or ingested in mouth

Injuries of these nature can come with big costs. You’re likely to have medical bills (which maybe include expensive hospital stays), missed work, plus the anguish of watching your child in pain. Some injuries leave children in need of lifelong medical care or leave them permanently disabled. The pain is intensified if your child’s injuries were due to physical or sexual abuse. Make sure to read our post, Is My Injury Serious Enough for a Lawsuit? for more details.

These types of extreme cases may warrant a personal injury lawsuit.

Can I File a Lawsuit Against my Child’s Daycare?

If your child’s injuries resulted in substantial damages, it’s time to pick up the phone and call a personal injury lawyer. In many cases, you can still file a lawsuit, even if you signed a liability waiver with the daycare facility.

Our attorneys at Ladenburg Law are here to help. You may wish to read about our process for seeking justice when a child has been injured at school. We do not charge for an initial consultation about your case. Plus, you’ll only pay us if we’re able to win you a settlement.

Don’t hesitate to call us today and let us know what happened.

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