As people get back to work as COVID numbers drop, parents are bringing their children back to schools and daycare centers while they are at their jobs. Many families require the services that daycare facilities provide on a daily basis. While daycares have proven to be invaluable for working parents, it is important to be aware of the risks that come with them. It is a terrible shock when you get a call or go to pick your child up and discover that they were injured while under supervision of a daycare’s employees.
The question then becomes, what do you do next? After you make sure your child is safe, and they have seen a doctor, it is important that you document everything that happens, and get in touch with a Tulsa personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
What are the leading causes of child injuries?
While the biggest source of child injuries is motor vehicle accidents, other leading causes of child injury include suffocation, drowning, poisoning, fires, and falls. Most, if not all, of these sorts of injuries are preventable.
The Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) keeps record of child injuries and fatalities and their causes. Per their data, “More than 7,000 children and teens aged 0-19 died because of unintentional injuries in 2019.”
What are the common injuries children can suffer from at a daycare?
Injuries at daycare facilities can happen in many ways, but most common accidents that involve children are due to employee negligence or dangers on the premises itself. There are numerous types of injuries that a child can sustain while at a daycare, depending on the facility’s environment. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Burns. Children can sustain these injuries by sticking their fingers or objects into outlets (electrical burns), from being outside without sunscreen (sunburns), or from thermal burns from boiling water or hot pans. Babies may be at additional risk if their formula or milk is heated up. Burn injuries can be incredibly painful, and leave your child with life long scars or disfigurement.
- Choking/Suffocation/Strangulation: This sort of injury can happen when a child puts small objects into their mouth, plays with plastic bags, or is improperly put into a harness or seat with straps (such as a swing). Even blankets in cribs can lead to suffocation.
- Leaving chemicals for cleaning or otherwise in places where children can come across them can lead to the child drinking those chemicals and poisoning themselves. Other sources of poisoning are medications and supplements, as well as carbon monoxide.
- Drowning can happen in an instant when the caretaker of your child turns away for just a moment. Sources of drowning include pools, tubs, fountains, wells, and even buckets of water. It is important to make sure that access to large bodies of water are inaccessible to children, even if they are off property, with appropriate fencing, alarms, and safety equipment.
When choosing a daycare, you should make sure to check out their safety procedures and practices. It might not be the daycare for you if you see a rusty swing set and unprotected outlets.
What steps should I take after my child is hurt at a Tulsa daycare?
The steps you take directly after discovering your child was injured are important, not only for ensuring your child receives proper care, but also for any claim you may file later.
One: file an incident report
The first thing you should do once you discover that your child has been injured at the daycare is file a report with that daycare facility. Make sure you speak with the manager or supervisor, and have them file an incident report; make sure you get a copy.
Two: document everything
From the injuries on your child, to the supervisor in charge that day, to photographs of the daycare space where your child was injured in, to any doctor’s appointments – document everything you can.. You may need this evidence to support a claim of negligence or unsafe premises, as a child is not always very good at recounting how they sustained their injuries as they may not have the necessary vocabulary.
Three: file a complaint
If you are concerned that the daycare facility that you take your child is violating Oklahoma’s licensing requirements governing the operations of licensed child care programs, family child care homes, residential facilities, children’s shelters and child placing agencies, you may submit a written complaint by mail, email or fax to any Child Care Services staff or Licensing Office; or, fill out this online form.
Four: call a Tulsa child injury lawyer
If your child suffered injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence, you can make a claim for damages for medical expenses, the wages you lost caring for your child, and your child’s pain and suffering. If the injuries are truly catastrophic, you could be entitled to damages for your child’s loss of earning potential, too. Our Tulsa child injury attorneys can help you with:
- Premises liability claims. It is the responsibility of owners and operators to ensure that their property is safe. A daycare, just like any sort of business or organization, has a duty of care to anyone that might be on their property. This is especially true for daycares, as they are meant to be caring for children. Everything on the premises must be safe for children to encounter, or they must be appropriately stored or kept away and safe from the children’s reach.
- Product liability claims. If your child is injured by a defective product – like an unsafe toy or malfunctioning appliance – you can hold the manufacturer liable for any injuries your child sustains. You can file a product liability claim if the manufacturer fails to disclose certain risks, too. For example, if your child has a food allergy and that ingredient is not listed on the product, and then your child is hurt, you can claim a “failure to warn” when you file a lawsuit.
- Wrongful death claims. If the worst comes to pass and your child dies as a result of a daycare accident, or from the injuries that result from that accident, we can help you file a wrongful death claim against the daycare. We understand how delicate this issue is, but these types of lawsuits can help ensure that no other parent ever has to suffer such a loss, while holding the business accountable for its negligence.
Before you make a statement or sign any documents from the daycare facility or their insurance company, contact Biby Law Firm’s Tulsa personal injury attorneys. Do not trust insurance companies, as they only care about keeping your money and making a profit. Do not suffer any more than you already must. Call us at 918-574-8458 or use our contact form. Initial consultations are always free.
Jacob Biby has spent his legal career helping folks just like you get the resources they need after an injury. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa in 2008. Jacob is licensed to practice in all Oklahoma state and federal courts, and has limited his career to representing individuals and families who were injured by the negligence of other people or corporations. Learn more about Jacob Biby.