What You Should Know About Seeking Compensation for Injuries Your Child Suffered at Daycare

A boy with an injured arm.
A boy with an injured arm.

The U.S. childcare industry is down 40,000 workers compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Worker shortages like this lead to understaffing, which stresses employees and hurts the quality of care.

These are all factors that increase the risk of injuries to children at daycare centers. Staff members might not be able to monitor all the children and overworked staff members may lash out.

If your child was injured at daycare, you may be able to seek compensation. This compensation may cover medical expenses for your child, lost wages if you have had to miss work and more.

Below, Friedman, Domiano and Smith’s experienced personal injury lawyers in Cleveland discuss the steps parents should take if their child is injured while at daycare. Call our office if you have any legal questions about this type of situation.

No upfront costs. Schedule a free initial consultation today. Call 216-621-0070.

How Children Could Get Hurt at Daycare

Children want to explore their environment. They also tend to take risks because they do not realize the danger of some of their actions. Adults who supervise children, such as the adults working at daycare centers, can also put children at risk through their negligence. Here are some of the common accidents that can happen at daycare:

  • Falls: Falls can happen on the playground or even from furniture like a chair or table. Children can also fall while running or walking.
  • Cuts and scrapes: Children can get cut or scraped from playing with toys, interacting with sharp objects or when using classroom tools or materials.
  • Choking: Young children are at risk of choking on their food, small toys or any other item they might put in their mouths.
  • Eye Injuries: Eye injuries can occur if children run into sharp objects, have exposure to chemicals or get sand in their eyes.
  • Poisoning: If childcare providers do not watch children carefully, they could ingest toxic chemicals like cleaning products.

Daycare centers should minimize the risk of injuries by childproofing the environment, supervising children and maintaining a clean space. Staff should also know how to use first aid equipment and understand emergency procedures.

Even though parents are not there, they can take steps to reduce the chances of an injury. One of the most important steps is choosing a daycare center with a strong health and safety record.

What Steps Should Parents Take After Daycare Injuries?

Parents are often overwhelmed with emotion when they find out their child was injured at daycare, especially if a daycare worker was involved.

These are some of the steps parents can take to help protect the health and safety of their child:

  • Seek medical care right away. You need a qualified doctor to diagnose and treat all your child’s injuries to prevent them from worsening.
  • Meet with the daycare director to discuss the incident and make sure an incident report has been or will be filed. You should also ask about getting your own copy of the report.
  • Photograph your child’s injuries.
  • Ask the daycare to review camera footage of the incident.
  • Consult with a knowledgeable attorney.

Who Is Liable for a Child’s Daycare Injuries?

In some cases, multiple parties could be involved. These parties may include:

  • Daycare facility: The daycare center could be liable for an injury caused by negligence. For example, inadequate supervision, unsafe premises and failure to follow safety protocols could result in the daycare center being held liable for injuries or damages. Facilities could also be held liable for poor maintenance that causes exposure to mold, expired food or contaminated drinking water.
  • Staff and caregivers: Individual staff members and caregivers may also be responsible for injuries. For instance, they could be held liable if they fail to supervise a child or do not act to ensure a child’s safety. Sometimes staff members intentionally harm children. Children can also get injured when staff ignore a child’s allergies or preexisting medical issues.
  • Third parties: Maintenance workers or contractors could be liable for accidents. If they leave cleaning supplies or equipment laying around, it could be a hazard for children.

Laws That May Affect Daycare Injury Claims

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) requires daycare providers to report when a child is ill or sustains an injury that needs first aid treatment. Daycare centers must keep a copy of the incident for at least a year and provide the report to the parent or guardian on the same day as the incident.

In statute 2919.225, Ohio mandates that daycare centers disclose to parents whether a child has had a serious injury or died while under their care. This allows parents to make informed decisions when selecting daycare providers.

What Evidence Is Needed to Prove Daycare Negligence?

Parents will need specific evidence to support their case and prove negligence was involved in their child’s injury, such as:

  • Witness testimony: Adults present at the time the injuries occurred could provide details of the incident. Expert witnesses, such as a child psychologist or medical professional, can also provide insights into damages and the value of those damages.
  • Surveillance Video: Many daycare centers have a video surveillance system. Preserving that video can be key evidence in an injury case.
  • Daycare policies and procedures: Daycare centers’ policies and procedures may be used as evidence to show workers broke the rules. These rules help establish a duty of care.
  • Your child’s medical record: These records can show the extent of your child’s injuries and help you pursue maximum compensation to cover medical expenses.
  • Photographs:Pictures of unsafe conditions, faulty equipment and your child’s injuries can serve as strong evidence.

Experienced lawyers know how to gather detailed evidence to prove negligence and the value of damages. However, it is critical that you contact a lawyer quickly, as evidence can get lost over time.

How Long Do Parents Have to File a Claim?

The deadline for personal injury claims in Ohio is two years from the date of the injury. However, when the victim is a minor, the statute of limitations does not start to run until the child’s 18th birthday. That means parents have two years from the child’s 18th birthday to file a claim. However, to preserve evidence and obtain the best outcome, an attorney should be involved as soon as possible.

What Types of Compensation Could Parents Seek?

You may be able to seek compensation for various damages, such as:

  • Medical expenses: You can include current and future medical expenses related to your child’s injuries, including the cost of mental health counseling.
  • Pain and suffering: Parents may be able to seek compensation for their child’s anxiety, fear or trauma.
  • Lost wages: Parents who have had to take time off work to care for their injured child may be eligible for compensation for their lost wages.

Seeking Legal Help? Call Friedman, Domiano and Smith

One of the most important things you can do after a daycare injury is to call a knowledgeable lawyer. Navigating the legal system can get complicated, as there are various laws and deadlines.

At Friedman, Domiano and Smith, we understand Ohio laws and can help you determine if you have a case. We have secured favorable results for our clients in a wide variety of cases.

Call us to schedule a free consultation and learn how we may help you.

Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. Call 216-621-0070.


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