What to Do if Your Child Was Injured at a Daycare or Preschool in Pennsylvania
When you enroll your child at a daycare or preschool, you are placing a substantial level of trust in the operators of that institution. Unfortunately, they may not always live up to the high standards that they should. There are over 200,000 child injuries on playground equipment each year, many occurring at schools or daycares. When childcare providers shirk their responsibilities, it can put those you hold dearest in harm’s way. If your child was injured at a daycare or preschool in Pennsylvania, you should be aware of your legal options for recovering compensation from those responsible.
Daycares and preschools may be liable for the injuries that they negligently cause to your child. In order to prove that the daycare or preschool is negligent, you will need to show that they breached their duty to your child through their behavior and that the injuries that your child suffered were caused by that negligence. If you believe that you might have a negligence case against your child’s daycare or preschool, you should be sure to get medical attention for your child as soon as possible. Even if you signed a liability waiver, you may still have a case.
To put yourself and your child in the best position possible after a daycare or preschool injury in Pennsylvania, you will need the help of an experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorney. At Reiff Law Firm, we work with clients just like you every day to ensure that bad actors are held responsible for their injurious actions. To schedule your free initial consultation, call our Pennsylvania offices at (215) 709-6940.
What is Daycare Negligence in Pennsylvania?
Negligence is a legal theory that deals with a party owing a duty of care, violating that duty, and causing another party damages. In the case of daycare and preschool injuries, these damages most often come in the form of injuries to a child in their care. Through a successful daycare negligence case, the child and parent can collectively recover money for the child’s injuries.
Pennsylvania daycares assume a duty of care to every child in their service. The requirements of that duty are established through common practices for other similar childcare enterprises and are higher than other areas where negligence might occur. This is because children are uniquely susceptible to dangers that adults might not be. In order to prove negligence, a plaintiff must show that the risk was foreseeable. For example, while it might not be common for an adult to mistake cleaning products for a drink, it is certainly foreseeable that a child would make such a mistake.
Therefore, daycares and other childcare entities face much more stringent requirements for their duty of care, and there are a number of ways to breach these requirements. Common instances of breach of duty for daycares include the failure to remove choking hazards, rusted or broken toys, or dangerous materials such as lead paint or asbestos. Daycares have a duty to routinely inspect and cure these potentially dangerous conditions. Failure to do so is often enough to demonstrate a breach in a Pennsylvania court.
However, proving that the daycare didn’t meet its responsibilities is not enough in itself to win your case. You must also prove that the daycare’s shortcomings were the cause of the injuries. This may be complicated, depending on the specific situation. For instance, it will be easier to prove that a child broke a bone as a result of falling off a swing set than proving that a child developed a lung condition due to poor ventilation in a daycare facility. No matter the circumstances, our experienced Pennsylvania daycare personal injury lawyers will be able to work with you so that your case is presented effectively.
When Should I File a Lawsuit After My Child Was Injured at Daycare or Preschool in Pennsylvania?
Before you consider filing a lawsuit against the negligent daycare or preschool, you should first ensure that your child has received medical attention. Your child’s safety is the first priority. Further, the documentation of the injuries that your child sustained will be critical for your potential personal injury lawsuit.
Once you have gotten the necessary medical assistance, contact an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney. Attorneys can compile evidence, explain your options, and negotiate with the opposing party, whether that be the daycare/preschool itself or their insurance provider.
The statute of limitations (or time limit for filing a lawsuit) for personal injury claims involving minors lasts up to two years after the child turns 18. That gives you plenty of time to file your suit. However, lawsuits are typically more successful when filed sooner, and they get you compensation sooner. Therefore, you should consider speaking to an attorney as soon as you can about your options.
What if I Signed a Liability Waiver at a Pennsylvania Daycare?
Many daycares and preschools will attempt to make you sign a document that limits their liability when you enroll your child with them. This document claims to offset any liability that the childcare entity might incur if your child is injured while in their care. While these waivers are effective in some cases, they do not always indemnify (or protect) the daycare entirely. You may still have a valid negligence case against them.
The primary goal of these waivers is to discourage potential plaintiffs from proceeding with their lawsuits. First, you do not have to sign the waiver – though refusing to sign may mean they will not accept your child. Second, even if the language in the waiver is clear and explicit, a court may find that the waiver is unconscionable or against public interest and therefore unenforceable. No matter what you may have signed, always speak to an Allentown personal injury attorney before deciding on your own that your case is futile.
We Can Help You with Your Daycare or Preschool Personal Injury Lawsuit in Pennsylvania
The respected Bucks County personal injury attorneys at Reiff Law Firm recognize the stress that accompanies an injury to your child, especially while at a facility meant to care for them. We can ensure that your voice is heard and help you achieve the compensation that you deserve. To set up a free consultation, call us at (215) 709-6940.