Personal Injury Liability: Nurseries and Day Care
Can a Private Nursery or Daycare Be Held Liable for Injuries to its Children?
Yes. Nurseries and daycares must exercise the highest degree of protection with children under their supervision. This includes taking adequate precautions to prevent all reasonable dangers. Failure to do so can leave nurseries and daycares liable for any resulting injuries.
What are Considered Reasonable Dangers?
While states and courts vary on specific examples, the general rule is to stick to risks associated with supervising children. This can include providing safe toys to play with, protection from electrical hazards, removing sharp objects, and a myriad of other safety measures. It is also important to emphasize that “reasonable” dangers are ones that can actually be controlled by the nursery or daycare.
For example, suppose a daycare center decides to build a ball pit in the playroom. Most courts would agree that placing bumper pads at the edges of the pit is a necessary and doable safeguard. On the other hand, requiring individual daycare attendants to constantly monitor each child in the ball pit seems a lot less reasonable. In many cases, courts are reluctant to hold day care centers liable for injuries resulting from normal childhood play.
Are Injuries Caused by Other Children Considered Reasonable Dangers?
Unfortunately, as stated above, courts are generally reluctant to include normal childhood play in the list of reasonable dangers. Courts recognize that possible physical injury is a normal part of childhood interaction, and as a result, rarely hold daycares or nurseries liable for injuries caused by other children.
Do State and Local Laws for Nurseries or Daycares Affect Their Liability for Injury?
Yes. In many cases, violation of state or local laws can provide evidence of a nursery or daycare’s negligence, thereby increasing the likelihood of liability.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me?
If your child was injured while in a nursery or attending daycare, you should contact a personal injury attorney to learn about any possible lawsuits you may have. Because “reasonable” dangers can vary among states and individual cases, a lawyer is necessary to determine the likelihood of your case’s success. An attorney can also inform you on any possible daycare or nursery law violations that may be present.
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Last Modified: 11-06-2013 02:26 PM PST
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