Fayetteville, NC Child Care Negligence Lawyer

child putting hazard products in the mouth

Many working parents depend on child care providers such as nurseries, daycares, or preschools to provide supervision and care for their children. However, when child care providers or staff act negligently and cause harm to a child in their care, the family of the injured child may hold the facility accountable and demand compensation for the child’s medical expenses. An experienced child care negligence lawyer can help your family if your child was hurt due to the careless or reckless actions of a child care provider.

If your child has been injured as a result of child care neglect, you deserve compassion and trusted legal guidance. For more than 30 years, the attorneys at Hardison & Cochran have represented injured children and their families in Fayetteville and across North Carolina. Our firm focuses exclusively on personal injury and disability law, giving us extensive experience in fighting for full compensation for our clients.

Our firm handles injury cases on a contingency fee basis. There are no upfront costs to have the legal assistance you and your family need. We only receive a legal fee if we obtain money for you through an insurance settlement or court award. We have offices throughout North Carolina, including in Fayetteville, Wilmington, Greensboro, Dunn, and Raleigh.

Let our firm fight to hold negligent child care providers and facilities accountable for causing serious harm to your child. Contact Hardison & Cochran today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to discuss how our specialized attorneys can help your family pursue financial recovery and justice for the harm that your child endured.

What Is Negligent Supervision?

Schools and daycares have a legal duty to keep children safe. When child care providers fail to fulfill their duty, they may be held liable for the failure to provide adequate supervision of children. What constitutes negligent supervision will vary based on the circumstances.

Factors that go into determining what actions constitute reasonable supervision include the age of a child, the child’s experience and maturity, the nature of activities the child is engaging in, and external factors such as the present location.

Child care providers are expected to protect children from harm from fellow students as well as from adults including other staff members of a school or daycare. Child care providers are also expected to protect children from inadvertently or intentionally injuring themselves such as by removing a child from an unsafe position on playground equipment.

Daycare Abuse Statistics

One study of 1,362 child fatalities found that 75 percent of the fatalities occurred in home-based daycares. Approximately a dozen states do not require licensed child care facilities or home-based daycares to report children’s deaths.

According to Darkness to Light, a child abuse prevention advocacy group, about a quarter of children ages five and under were enrolled in some form of organized child care, such as a nursery or daycare center, or a preschool. In 2017 alone, 2,237 reports of abuse or neglect by daycare facilities were substantiated. Of substantiated reports of child abuse or neglect committed by daycare providers, more than 20 percent of cases involved sexual abuse.

Common Accidents/Injuries in Child Care

Accidents or incidents that frequently lead to injuries for children include:

  • Playground accidents, including accidents involving playground equipment
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Trip and fall accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Choking accidents due to swallowing toys or other objects
  • Accidents involving defective toys or furniture
  • Swallowing toxic or hazardous substances

Common injuries that result from child care facility accidents include:

  • Lacerations, bruising, and scarring
  • Broken bones
  • Nerve damage
  • Soft tissue injuries, such as ligament sprains or muscle/tendon strains
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Internal organ injuries and internal bleeding
  • Burns
  • Electrocution injuries
  • Injury from toxic exposure or consumption of hazardous substances
  • Brain damage caused by choking or drowning
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Head and facial injuries, including eye injuries
  • Amputations, particularly traumatic amputation of fingers or toes getting caught in doors or furniture

How To Prove Child Care Negligence

To prove your child and family’s rights to recover compensation for child care negligence in Fayetteville, NC, four elements are needed to establish the claim.

  • First, you must prove that a child care provider or facility was responsible for providing for your child’s care. Typically, the provider is expected to take reasonable actions to prevent foreseeable harm to your child. Foreseeable harm can include protecting children from hazardous conditions of the child care facility. Reasonable actions might include conducting regular maintenance checks for spills or other slipping hazards.
  • Next, you must prove that a provider or facility failed to uphold its duty to protect your child. This might involve providing inadequate supervision of your child, or it might involve inadequate maintenance of the facility grounds to repair an unsafe piece of playground equipment.
  • You must also prove that a child care provider’s or facility’s failure to fulfill their legal duties directly caused your child to suffer an injury. This means showing that your child’s injuries would not have occurred but for the provider’s or facility’s conduct.
  • Finally, you must demonstrate that your child has suffered significant losses because of their injuries. For example, cuts and scrapes that heal perfectly on their own will not typically support a claim of child care negligence. However, if your child requires medical treatment or rehabilitation, or long-term care, or if your child experiences a reduced quality of life due to injuries, your child and your family may be entitled to compensation.

What Constitutes Child Neglect in North Carolina?

child playing with toys

Child neglect is generally defined as a caregiver failing to provide adequately for the needs of a child in a way that jeopardizes the child’s health and safety.

Under North Carolina law, child neglect can constitute a criminal offense of “contributing to delinquency and neglect.” Child neglect can be committed by a child’s legal parents or guardians, or it can be committed by caregivers tasked with providing temporary care for a child.

North Carolina law defines a neglected child as a child who is not provided necessary medical or remedial care, or who lives in an environment harmful to the child’s welfare.

The criminal offense of abandonment is defined as willfully neglecting or refusing to provide adequate support for a child’s health and welfare. A first-time offense is charged as a Class 2 misdemeanor, while second and subsequent offenses are charged as Class 1 misdemeanors. However, a criminal conviction of a daycare provider will not provide any compensation for medical expenses pertaining to your child’s injury.

To seek compensation for your child’s medical care for injuries due to neglect, you will need to take separate civil action against the negligent daycare provider. A civil action is separate from any criminal prosecution.

How to File a Claim

A child care negligence claim is typically filed by a child’s parents or legal guardian. A minor child who is harmed by negligence does not have the legal standing to file their own legal claim.

The process of filing a child care negligence claim begins with investigating the underlying facts and circumstances to gather evidence that can be used to establish the injuries and losses your child suffered and prove they were caused by a child care provider or a facility. If your child has suffered a serious injury while in child care, you should contact a Fayetteville child care injury lawyer who can investigate the injury, interview child care staff or other witnesses, and obtain security camera footage, if available.

A child care negligence claim typically involves presenting a claim or demand for compensation to the child care provider or facility or to its insurance provider. This starts the process of settlement negotiations. Your attorney will attempt to have the insurance company representing the negligent child care provider agree to pay a sum of money that represents full compensation for the financial expenses and losses that your child and your family endured.

Most child care negligence claims are resolved through an out-of-court settlement. But if the insurance company refuses to agree to a reasonable settlement, the attorneys at Hardison & Cochran will be ready to file a lawsuit and seek justice for you in court. Your child care negligence lawyer can advocate your case on your behalf to the judge and jury in court.

Our Child Care Injury Attorneys Are Ready to Assist with Your Claim

If your child has been injured due to suspected negligence on the part of a child care provider or facility, contact Hardison & Cochran today. Our Fayetteville child injury lawyers will provide you with a free consultation when you call us or contact us online. Your family deserves compensation and accountability, and we’ll be ready to demand it.