Child Injured at Daycare? – Here’s What to Do

If your child was injured at a daycare in Washington, you might be able to take legal action. However, not every injury warrants a lawsuit. A qualified personal injury lawyer can help determine if the daycare was negligent or malicious and what steps you could take. Sometimes the best approach is to file a claim to pursue compensation for your child’s medical bills.

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. Remember, this post is intended to offer general information only. Please contact us now at no cost for legal advice about your situation.

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. Such signs could indicate a pattern of a daycare’s wrongdoing.

Has your child come home with any of the following?

  • Bruising or lacerations
  • Repeated injuries without explanation from the staff
  • Bite marks
  • Sudden mood changes, such as fearful to go to daycare
  • Coming home very thirsty or hungry on multiple occasions

You should also take note if the 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 Are Some Laws about Daycares in Washington?

As you might imagine, Washington State has many laws in place to help protect children and prevent injuries. These laws cover a wide range of considerations, including reporting, safety, background checks, staff requirements, and more.

The table below outlines some of Washington State’s requirements about daycares.

WAC 110-300-0010Daycare facilities must be licensed
WAC 110-300-0100Staff must meet basic requirements
WAC 110-300-0130Indoor spaces must meet certain safety criteria
WAC 110-300-0145Outdoor spaces must meet certain safety criteria
WAC 110-300-0165Facilities must have many safety protocols to reduce hazards to children
WAC 110-300-2230Staff need to be CPR certified

These are just a few of the many daycare laws for Washington State. The full list is found at WAC 110-300, which is entitled “Foundational Quality Standards for Early Learning Programs.” If your child was injured because of a failure of a facility to abide by one of these laws, you should reach out to a personal injury attorney for help.

Daycare Injury Statistics Washington State

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

There are two steps we recommend you take when your child has been hurt at a daycare.

  1. Take your child to 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 599 serious injuries and 118 child abuse incidents at daycares in the five-year period spanning from 2016 to 2021.

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.

Understanding Negligence in Daycare Injuries

In order to have a case against a daycare, you need to be able to demonstrate that your child’s injuries were caused due to negligence or deliberate wrongdoing. In other words, your child would not have been hurt were it not for the daycare’s behavior.

Here are some hypothetical examples of daycare negligence:

  • Daycare hires a childcare worker with known history of abuse
  • Dangerous equipment left unrepaired or unreplaced
  • Children left unsupervised
  • Failure to keep harmful items out of reach of children
  • Staff not trained in basic first aid or CPR procedures

In some of these scenarios, daycare staff could face criminal charges as well as civil penalties. One of our experienced attorneys can help determine if negligence was a factor in your situation.

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

If a daycare worker’s negligence caused your child’s injuries, 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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