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What Kind of Accident Claims can I Bring Against My Child's Day Care Provider?
Our Syracuse day care injury lawyers believe that parents can and should expect their children to be safely cared for, whether in school or in day care. Day care injuries are often the result of carelessness or of the day care facility cutting corners on safety to make more money. Understaffed day care facilities, or even if there is sufficient staff, undertrained staff, cause accidents.
Because young children are so vulnerable, New York's legislature and agencies it has created have wisely passed laws and regulations to monitor and control day care safety. Specifically, New York's Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) regulations in Parts 413 to 418 set forth numerous rules regarding both home day care and facility day care.
For example, all day care centers in New York State are required to:
- Ensure that all children are supervised at all times
- Maintain proper first aid kits
- Keep the premises free of hazards
- Follow certain sanitary rules
- Keep hazardous materials out of reach
- Provide nutritious and safe food
- Conduct emergency drills
- Keep required child/adult ratios
- Provide proper training to staff
- Conduct criminal history screening of staff
There are separate rules for family home day care homes, school age child care, child care centers. These regulations are very detailed. For example, the ratio of adults per child changes depending on the age of the children in the group. Babies require a 1 to 3 adult-to-child ratio. The number of adults required per child goes down as the age of the children go up until 10-12 year olds require only a 1 to 15 ratio.
This is only one example of the detailed rules set forth by New York State for child care, whether home child care or in a facility. It is crucial that a child care injury lawyer representing injured children in Syracuse or elsewhere in New York know and understand these rules. If the lawyer can find that a rule was violated, and that this was at least partially the cause of the accident or injury, the case has a much better chance of success.
Even if no regulation or statute is broken, though, the child care provider or center may be held liable. All it takes is a momentary error or lack of attention by staff to allow an accident to happen. At the Auburn and Syracuse, NY law firm of Michaels & Smolak, our child care injury lawyers know and understand New York's child care regulations and laws, but also have vast experience proving simple "negligent supervision" claims. It is crucial that staff members keep a close watch over children at all times, and it is difficult to conceive of an injury at a day care facility where proper supervision and instruction of the children was in place.
Common accidents at day care homes and facilities include:
- Falls from changing tables
- Dropping children
- Children hitting or running into other children or objects
- Playground accidents
- Strangulation or entanglement
- Falls from furniture or playground equipment
- Allergic reactions
- Negligently allowing abuse or mistreatment
New York law allows parents of children injured at a day care home or facility to bring a claim against the day care. Further, New York has a generous statute of limitations to sue: The child's statute of limitations does not even start to run until he or she turns 18, and then it is usually a three year statute of limitations which expires when the "child" is 21.
Even if you are unsure of how exactly your child was injured, or whether there was negligence or a rule violation, you may want to have one of our Syracuse child care lawyers investigate the incident to determine whether a personal injury case can and should be brought. We do not charge for such an investigation. If we prevail, our fee is generally 1/3, but for children it is often less than that. The claim includes recovery of medical expenses as well as compensation for pain and suffering and any disfigurement.
New York has promulgated many important rules for keeping your child safe in day care. That's because children are so vulnerable. As a parent, your job is to keep your child safe, and if your child is injured because a day care did not do its job right, you may decide you have a social responsibility to bring a claim - or at least to have your lawyer investigate a claim - so as to keep other children safe.
Contact us for a free review of your child care negligence claim.