Kids Wooden Blocks Spelling Mom And Dad As Symbol for Parenthood

Day care centers have a duty to provide supervision to the children enrolled in the program.   As part of this supervision, child care providers should make sure that all exits and areas are secure and that no children wander away from the facility. It is well known that children are curious and lack good safety awareness.  As such, at times, a child will wander away from the facility.   This, in turn, may lead to serious personal injuries or even the death of the child.  This raises the issue as to whether the day care center is liable when a child wanders away from the facility.   From a practical standpoint, it may be difficult to pursue a civil case or claim when there was no physical harm caused to the child during the wandering away incident or event.

For instance, let’s say that a child wanders away and is just about to cross the street.  The child is outside of the facility for about 5 minutes and is found by a police officer who happened to be in the area.  The child is promptly returned to the day care center.  Certainly, the child could have been seriously harmed in the busy traffic just outside of this day care center. Furthermore, the child would have been seriously injured but for the presence of the attentive police officer.  However, based on the facts as presented, the child was unharmed and promptly returned to the facility.   The day care center was certainly negligent and may be fined or even closed for such conduct; however, there was no physical harm caused to the child. 
In some States, a physical injury would be required to pursue a civil case or claim for personal injuries or harm to a child. In other States, not such proof would be required; however, in each instance, it would be a difficult case to pursue from a damage / value perspective. If the facts are changed, the case is much different. 
Let’s say that child at issue attempted to cross the street and was hit by a car.  As a result thereof, the child suffered serious personal injuries.  While the negligence or fault was similar to the other example, the damages or injuries are much different. There are four basic elements to a civil case or claim:
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation, and
4. Damages.
The pursuit of a civil case or claim on behalf of child can be quite complicated.  As such, a parent should seek out advice from a  qualified Florida Child Injury Lawyer to discuss the respective rights of the child and responsibilities of the day care center.  The book titled – Florida Day Care Center Injuries – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – Building Blocks of Knowledge for Parents – has chapters on Indoor Facilities, Outdoor Facilities, Playgrounds, Record Keeping, Incident Reports, Emergency Procedures, and other topics.  You can get this book for free at Florida Day Care Center Injuries. 

School Bus CrashWhen a child is injured as a result of a school bus accident, there are often questions and challenges for a parent as it pertains tomedical care for the accident related injuries. A parent may think that a school bus or school district would automatically pay for the medical bills and provide for medical care if the accident or crash was the fault of the school bus driver. While this may seem to be reasonable and full of common sense, school bus companies and the related insurance companies do not automatically go into gear to provide for or pay the medical bills for the injured child. As such, a parent must often make arrangements on his or her own to get the child appropriately evaluated and treated. Here is a list of medical providers who may provide care following a school bus accident:
Pediatrician or Primary Care Doctor. The pediatrician or primary care doctor may be appropriate for medical care following an automobile accident if the injuries seem relatively minor and do not require much in the way of follow-up.
Emergency Room. If the child needs immediate medical care and there appears to be signs and symptoms of trauma related head injuries, back injuries, injuries to the extremities, internal injuries,  etc. . . the parent should take immediate action to get the child properly stabilized and evaluated at the emergency room. Many cities, especially the larger ones, have emergency room and hospitals that special specialize in the care of children. If such a facility is available, parents should take child to a pediatric emergency room or trauma center. Typically, a pediatric specialist the best position to have the best training in order to provide the proper evaluation and treatment of children following the school bus accident.
Specialist. Following a school bus accident, it may be necessary for a child to see a specialist. The type of specialist will depend on the injury sustained.  Specialists include neurologists, general surgeons, orthopedic surgeon, sports medicine and physical rehabilitation doctors, psychologists, neuropsychologists, and other specialists.
Physical Therapist.  Once a child is been properly evaluated and treated by the specialist or medical doctor, the child may be ordered or directed to physical therapy for follow-up care regarding neck, back, extremity injuries and other injuries.
The choices and available of medical doctors following a school bus accident may be quite limited and challenging especially if the child lacks health insurance and / or the parent has limited experience in dealing with the aftermath of a crash and making a decision as to the appropriate medical providers for the child.   As such, a parent should seek out legal counsel in the form of a Florida Child Injury Lawyer for advice and potential legal representation.  The book titled – When the Wheels Stop Spinning – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Parents Need to Know After the Accident – has chapters on Automobile Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents, and other topics.  You can get this book for free at When the Wheels Stop Spinning. 

  School Bus Blue.001St. Johns County, there was a serious school bus accident that injured a number of children including one child who was airlifted and three children who were transported to Baptist South Medical Center located in Jacksonville, Florida.   This particular accident was reported as a single vehicle accident.  According to Action News and other media outlets, the driver, Joseph David Sanks, 69, of St. Augustine, was issued a citation for careless driving.  As Mr. Sanks was driving the yellow school bus on Interstate 95 near International Golf Parkway – he veered off the side of the road and into some trees.  There were no other vehicles damaged or reported involved with the crash.  Investigators from the Florida Highway Patrol interviewed witnesses and later issues a citation for Careless Driving to the school bus driver.  Does this mean that this is an open and shut case?  Not necessarily.  The Florida Highway Patrol does not control the outcome of the injury claims or potential civil cases that may arise from this accident.  Furthermore, while the school bus driver was charged with careless driving, he can contest the charges and request a hearing in traffic court with or without the benefit of legal representation.  Unless there was a mechanical failure or some other good explanation for the school bus driver crashing into a group of trees, it is highly unlikely that the school bus driver will prevail in traffic court.  Of course, the traffic court judge or hearing officer may decide to cut the school bus driver a break and withhold adjudication on the citation. It should be noted that the disposition of the traffic court hearing does not control the course of the potential civil cases or claims.  See Driver Charged in St. Johns County Florida School Bus Accident on Interstate 95.

Because of the complexities of Florida’s legal system especially as it pertains to liability, damages, and the intricate procedures by which a case or claim must be filed against a sovereign entity (government entity) like a school distrct, it is important for the parents of the injured children to retain the services of a qualified and experienced Florida Child Injury Lawyer for advice, guidance, and legal representation.

There may be several sources for the payment of medical bills and damages associated with a school bus accident including the following:

Medical Payment.  The school district may have insurance in the form of Medical Payment coverage that may provide $1,000 or more in benefits to an injured child.

Personal Injury Protection.  In most automobile accident cases, a child can get his or her bills paid through a parent’s automobile insurance policy even through the parent’s vehicle was not involved in the crash.  However, there are certain exceptions in most policies for public conveyances.  As such, PIP may not apply in the situation of a school bus accident.

Health Insurance.  While it may seem a bit unfair, the health insurance of the child may end up paying the medical bills if there is no other immediate funding source available.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage of Parent. Again, this may seem unfair but there may be an ability to collect compensation for medical bills and other damages under a parent’s Uninsured Motorist insurance policy even though the parent’s vehicle was not involved in the crash.

Liability Insurance of the School Bus.  If there was liability insurance in place for the school bus, there may be coverage for medical bills and related damages.  For most liability insurance or bodily injury insurance policies, a one time payment to settle the case is the typical resolution. In other words, the insurance company will not pay bills as they accure or as they are submitted.  Resolution or settlement under the portion of the insurance policy identified as bodily injury or liability insurance will typically be limited to a one-time payment.

Sovereign Immunity Caps. In the State of Florida, most cases or claims against a government entiy are limited to $200,000 per person and $300,000 per incident.  A claim can be pursued in excess of these amounts but it requires a special bill or law to be passed before the Florida Legislature.  During the past several years, very few claims bills have been presented that have passed even though the victims were very deserving.

The complexities of the above and other issues should prompt the parent of an injured child to at least consult with a Florida Child Injury Lawyer to determine the respective rights of the child and the respective obligation of the school, school bus driver, school district, and / or other entities.

The book titled – When the Wheels Stop Spinning – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Parents Need to Know After the Accident – has chapters on Automobile Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents, School Bus Related Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at When the Wheels Stop Spinning.


School Bus Accident Personal InjuriesIn St. Johns County, Florida and the other 66 counties in the State of Florida, children are transported to and from schools in school buses and vans.  When there is a crash or accident, children are often injured and require medical care and attention.  Some injuries even require the transport by fire rescue and at times by an emergency air lift.  When a child suffers personal injuries, parents are faced with the challenges of medical bills, missed school, personal injuries, permanent injuries, and a whole host of other problems.  When faced with these issues, it is often helpful to have the guidance, counsel, and legal representation by a qualified Florida Child Injury Lawyer.  Some laws and insurance regulations make perfect sense while others do not.  Certainly, school districts, schools, and insurance companies are well represented by a panel of attorneys.  Because of this, parents should act quickly to get an advocate in place to give a voice for the injured child.  Back to the question at hand, who is responsible for the personal injuries suffered by a child when there is a school bus accident or crash?

School District.   If the school bus is owned, operated, or retained by a public school district, then the school district could be held liable for the personal injuries and damages IF it can be proved that the bus driver was negligent AND / OR there was negligence involved with the maintenance of the bus that was a contributing cause of the crash.

Private School Bus Company.   If the school district contracts out to a private school bus company, the private school bus company may be liable if there was negligent driving OR negligent maintenance that was a contributing cause of the crash.  The private school bus company, if hired by a public school district, may be able to avail itself of some of the protections of the school distrct as a public entity.  As such, further evaluation and analysis are warranted under these circumstances.  If a private school retains the private school bus company, no such protections are afforded the private school bus company.

School Bus Insurance.  Many public school districts are self insured. Many are insured through an insurance fund or company.  While the school bus insurance is not a party to the case or action per se, it can be a funding source for medical bills, personal injuries, and related damages.

At-Fault Driver (Other Than School Bus Driver).  If the crash is caused by the negligence of another driver, then a case or claim can be pursued against the at-fault driver.

At-Fault Owner (Other Than School Bus).  If the crash is caused by the negligent driving of a vehicle that is owned by another person, then the owner of the vehicle under Florida Law and the Dangerous Instrumentality Law can also be held liable or responsible for the personal injuries and related damages.

Insurance Company for the At-Fault Driver.  Again, an insurance company is not necessary a party or responsible entity except for the payment of medical bills, personal injuries and related damages.

Insurance Company for the At-Fault Owner.  This may be another payment source if the At-Fault Driver and the At-Fault Owner have different insurance policies.

Insurance Company for Parents of the Injured Child. There also may be insurance coverage afforded the injured child under a parent’s insurance policy even though the child at the time of the crash was occupying a school bus and even though the parent’s vehicle at nothing to do with the crash.

In St. Johns County, Florida, a recent crash was reported in which 1 child was airlifted from the crash scene and 4 children were transported from the crash scene.  In the initial news reports, there was no detail as to the cause of the crash or responsiblity for the crash. There was graphic photograph showing a significantly damages school bus and a group of trees. The impact looked quite severe.  A typical morning for the children on this school bus turned quite tragic in the form of this terrible school bus crash. See Children Injured in School Bus Crash in St. Johns County Florida.

The book – When the Wheels Stop Spinning – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Parents Need to Know After the Accident – has information for dealing with the challenges of a school bus accident and other crashes. You can get this book for free at When the Wheels Stop Spinning.



School Bus Stop Sign.001In Florida and other states, school bus stop areas are busy during the morning and afternoon areas.   Some school bus stops are well marked with signage, flashing lights, and crosswalks while other bus stops are not as well set up or equippped.  If a driver knows of a school bus stop by signage, lights, and / or by a general knowledge of the area, it is important for drivers to slow down and be on the watch for children at the school bus stop area or walking to or walking away from the school bus stop area.

Unfortunately and tragically, children continue to suffer injuries and even die as a result of pedestrian / automobile accident incidents in and around school bus stop areas.  Florida has adopted a number of legal concepts that may apply to personal injuries suffered by a child pedestrian in or near school bus stop areas.  A child under the age of 6 years old cannot be held negligent for his or her own actions as a matter of law.  For children 6 years of age and older, the conduct of the child is evaluated / considered based on the age and maturity of the child as well as the facts and circumstances surrounding the pedestrian / automobile accidents.  In addition, Florida has comparative fault when evaluating the liability or responsibility for pedestrian and automobile accidents.  In other words, there may be negligence on behalf of the child 6 or older which does not prevent the right to pursue a cause of action for injuries or death to the child. For instance, if is determined that a child is 25 % at fault for an accident, then the child and / or the family of the child would be entitled to recover 75 % of the damages associated with the injuries / death.  The negligence of the child pedestrian is not a bar to recovery in the State of Florida.

A tragedy was recently reported in Palm Coast (Flagler County), Florida.  New 4 Jax and other media outlets reported that Kymora Christian, a 7 year old girl, died while walking to her Palm Coast school bus stop for Wadsworth Elementary School. It was reported that there was no crosswalk in the area.  In Flagler County and other Florida counties, some school bus stops have crosswalks and some do not.  This makes it even more important for drivers in and near the school bus stop area to slow down especially during drop off and pick up times.  The Florida Highway Patrol responded to the scene of the accident that involved a SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle).  Since a death resulted from a vehicular accident in the State of Florida, a full investigation as to speed, preventability, and other factors will be conducted and reported by the Florida Highway Patrol. You can read more about this tragic incident at Florida Highway Patrol – 7 Year Old Girl Killed at School Bus Stop – Flagler County – Palm Coast, Florida.

Dealing with the aftermath of an injury or death of a child is always challenging for the parents.  There are a number of pressures and stresses to deal with.  The book titled – When a Parent’s World Goes From Full to Empty – The Wrongful Death of a Child – What You Need to Know About The Florida Wrongful Death Act – covers a wide variety of topics and issues that arise when a child dies as a result of the negligence or fault of a person, business, school, day care center, or government entity.  You can get this book for free at From Full to Empty.  Another good resource is the book – When the Wheels Stop Spinning – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Parents Need to Know After the Accident.  This book has chapters on Automobile Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents, Hit and Run Accidents, Wrongful Death, and other topics. You can get this book for free at When the Wheels Stop Spinning.


cal-0814-cl3-dogs-19In Florida, you will find dogs in every community.  Most dogs are well trained and friendly.  However, dogs are animals and their behavior, at times, can be somewhat unpredictable.  There are some dogs in the community who have a history of roaming and aggression.  Certainly, all dogs should be properly restrained and kept under control.  This is especially true for those dogs with a history of aggression.   Florida has some interesting laws in place as to dog bite incidents.  Florida, like some other states, has a strict liability rule in place for dog bites.  This means that a dog bite victim can pursue a case or claim against a dog owner WITHOUT having to prove that the dog had a prior history of aggression or biting.  Furthermore, there is no need to show that the dog owner knew or should have known that the dog would have been dangerous in a certain situation.  In addition, it should be noted that the dog breed is typically irrelevant to the pursuit a claim.   The dog breed is less important that the dog who attacked the person.   Of course, the bigger the dog breed – the more damage or more serious injuries can be inflicted.
In Jacksonville, Florida, it was reported that a man was seriously injured when he was attacked by four Pit Bull breed dogs.  It was reported by the Florida Times Union and other news outlets that the dogs had a history of roaming through the neighborhood on prior occasions according to the neighbors.   As a result of the incident and the information gathered by animal control, the dogs involved in the attack and others were taken into custody by the City of Jacksonville Animal Control. A full investigation will be conducted to determine the facts of the attack and whether the dogs at issued will be classified as dangerous dogs. You can read more about this story at Jacksonville Florida Man Attacked by Four Pitfalls in Critical Condition.
It should be noted that leash laws are in effect for most of the 67 counties and for most municipalities. It is important for dog owners to comply with the leash laws and other Animal Laws in place.   As noted above, dog bite cases are governed by strict liability.  As such, as long as the dog bite victim was not a trespasser and did not otherwise affirmatively attack the dog at issue, there will be a case or claim to pursue by the dog bite owner. It should also be noted that the pursuit of many cases may hinge from a practical standpoint on the availability of homeowner’s insurance. Unfortunately, many dog owner / homeowners do not carry homeowner’s insurance that covers dog bite related personal injuries.   
When a person suffers serious personal injuries as a result of a dog bite, it is important that the person OR his or her family contact a Florida Dog Bite Attorney for advice, guidance, and legal representation.

Boat Wheel - Personal InjuryIn States like Florida, California, Georgia, Hawaii, and Texas among others, boating is a year round activity.  The warm weather and abundance of waterways and surrounding lakes, rivers, ponds, canals, and oceans provide a welcoming enviornment for those seeking to boat, fish, swim, water ski, and otherwise enjoy the day.   While boating can be great fun, it can also be dangerous for teens and children especially those who are not properly supervised and / or do not understand or follow basic safety measures.   There are just too many risks associated with boating to hand over the full responsibility to a teen or child.  Adult supervision is key to preventing injuries including those related to drowning or near drowning incidents.  This is especially true when there is bad weather, rough waters, or other conditions that lead to a capsizing incident.   It takes a certainly maturity, strength, and experience to properly react when there is an emergency.  Because of this, it makes it even more important to have adult supervision during any boating activity.  A teen or child may be a champion boater or swimmer.  Even for these talented and strong individuals, a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket should be worn at all times during boating related activities.  It may not be cool or comfortable to wear a life jacket but this one basic safety precaution can and does save lives.
Even with adult supervision, education is key to prevent injuries and drowning incidents for teens and children.  The captain / owner of the boat should carefully explain the rules and safety precautions to be followed while on the boat.   If a child is going to regularly be a guest on a boat, it may make sense for the child to attend a boating course. Of course, being able to swim is important as well.  If a child or teen is going out on a boat, it is better if the child or teen can swim.  If not, extra care should be taken to the extent possible to watch over and supervise the child while engaged in boating related activities.
If a child or teen is injured or drowns during boating related activities, is the boat owner liable for such injuries or the death of the child?  Well, like most legal issues, it will depend on the particular facts and circumstances of the incident.  Let’s take an example.   Let’s say a 12 year old friend of the boat owner’s son goes out on the boat for a day of fishing.   The boat owner allows his son to take out the boat.  There is no adult supervision in place.   The boat owner does not contact the parents of the 12 year old for permission to have the child out on the boat.  The boat is not equipped with life jackets.  The two boys go out for a leisurely day of fishing.   Rough weather ended up capsizing the small boat and the 12 year old drowned.   The boat owner’s son was later rescued by the Coast Guard.  Had the 12 year old been wearing a life jacket, the drowning would most likely have been avoided.  Under these facts, there can be a claim or case on behalf of the estate of the deceased child due to the negligence of the boat owner. It should be noted that each case or incident should be evaluated on its own facts and merits.  Let’s take another example.  A 17 year old boy is invited as a guest on a neighbor’s boat with the permission of his parents.   While on the boat, the 17 year old got drunk with alcohol he brought with him from his own house.  While horsing around on the boat, the 17 year old slips off the boat.  Just prior to falling off the boat, he was wearing a life jacket but decided it would be cooler to go without the life jacket.  The boat owner was on the boat at the time and otherwise providing reasonable supervision of the 17 year old and the other teens on the boat.  Under this fact pattern, it may be difficult to pursue a case on the theory that the boat owner was negligent in some manner.  The 17 year old hid the alcohol by pouring it into a soda bottle.  Furthermore, the 17 year old disobeyed clear instructions to keep his life jacket on and to otherwise behalf while on the boat.  Of course, more facts will need to be determined to better analyze the potential liability (if any) of a case or claim of this nature. It should be noted that in the State of Florida – a child under the age of 6 years old cannot be held to be comparatively at fault in any manner.  As such, any child 6 years of age or older can be held comparatively at fault.  Seeing that the actions of a 17 year old are being considered, it is quite possible that 100 % or nearly 100 % of fault may be assessed against the 17 year old.
Personal injury and wrongful death cases related to boating accidents and incidents can be quite complicated and confusing. Because of this, it is important for the parent of the injured child to consult with a Child Injury Lawyer for advice, guidance, consultation, and when appropriate legal representation.
The book titled – When a Parent’s World Goes From Full to Empty – The Wrongful Death of a Child – What You Need to Know About The Florida Wrongful Death Act – is a good resource for parents seeking information on claims or cases involving the wrongful or negligent death of a child. You can get this book for free at From Full to Empty.

medical_1000006509-120613intDuring the summer time and other parts of the year in Florida, it is common to see children especially toddlers on bicycles and riding toys on or near driveways.   A good question is the following:
What riding toys are dangerous on or near driveways?
The answer to this question may surprise you.  The answer is all of the riding toys are dangerous.   This is because there are risks of personal injuries to any child on a riding toy or bicycle on or near the driveway.   Let’s say an example to discuss.  A 4 year old child is riding his three wheel cycle on the drivveway.  Like many such toys, this three wheeler is low to the ground and below the vision of most drivers.   While there are backup cameras in many newer model vehicles, a child riding a low three wheeler can often times be missed by a driver who is backing out of of driveway or driving into a driveway.   Also, children lack good safety judgment.   A 4 year old who is not being supervised can easily ride right into the street and into traffic.  This can, in turn, lead to serious personal injuries to the child.  Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
Drive slowly in all residential areas and all other areas where she are playing;
If children are present, it is probably a good idea to drive below the posted speed limit;
Riding toys that are low to the ground can be equipped with a flag to make the riding toy and the child on riding toy more visible;
Supervise children at all times while a child is playing outside;
Make sure that all children – no matter the age or size of the riding toy or bicycle – wear a helmet; and
Teach and enforce safety precautions for children.
When a child is injured due to the negligence orr careless driving of a driver, there may be a cause of action or claim to pursue.  These cases can be quite complicated.  As such, it makes sense to consult with a Florida Child Injury Lawyer for advice, guidance, and legal representation.
The book titled – When the Wheels Stop Spinning – Legaly Rights of the Injured Child – What Parents Should Know After the Accident – has chapters on Bicycle Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents, Wrongful Death, and other topics. You can get this book for free at When the Wheels Stop Spinning.

Ferris Wheel - Amusement Park InjuriesFlorida is a tourist destintation in part because of the warm weather, beaches, and, yes the variety of theme parks including but not limited to Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, and Lego Land.  When a person is injured at a Florida theme park, there are many questions, issues, and challenges that arise.  Believe me, the theme park managers and workers are well aware of the risk of injury to guests. In addition, the managers and workers have been trained and instructed as to the potential for lawsuits and insurance claims from these incidents.  If an incident report is prepared, there is no duty that the theme park provide the guest a copy.  Furthermore, the preparation of the incident report is not to make the claim easier for the guest but to document the circumstances of the incident especially the actions by the staff to defend the case in the future if a claim or lawsuit is pursued by the guest.   Here are the four basic elements that need to be proved to establish a case or claim against a Florida theme park:
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Caustion; and
4. Damages.
A theme park is not an absolute insurer of the safety of guests including the visitors who are children.  That seems like a complicated statement. Let’s simplify it.  Just because an injury takes place on the grounds of a theme park – that does not mean that the theme park is liable or responsible for the injuries and medical bills.   Here is an example.  A child is walking on the grounds of the theme park. Out of the blue, the child collapses and is taken to the local hospital. It is determined that the child had a congenital defect with her heart.   Under this basic fact scenario, the theme park did not cause or contribute to the child’s collapse or condition in any manner. The theme park’s only connection with this medical incident or complication is that the child collapsed while visiting the theme park.   Under this fact scenario, there would be no liability or responsibility on behalf of the theme park, its managers, or its employees.
Let’s now explore a different scenario.  A child is visiting the food court area of a theme park.  Near the ketchup and condiment area, the child was cut or lacerated by a sharp edge. The trim around the edge of the counter was worn and ripped away.   The child required nine stitches.  Under this scenario, it appears that the theme park and its staff knew or should have known about the dangerous area.  There was a duty to properly and reasonably maintain the food court area and the theme park breached this duty.  As a result of the breach of duty (causation), the child suffered injuries (damages) in the form of the laceration to the hand.
The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Amusement and Theme Park Injuries, Swimming and Water Park Injuries, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

Kids Block Spelling Dad As Symbol for Fatherhood And ParentingOne basic duty of every day care center is to supervise the children to make sure that the children do not wander out of the facility and into harm’s way.  The fact is that most day care centers are located on or near a busy road or expressway.   The busy roads are dangerous.  The parking lots are also dangerous to children especially toddlers who have very poor safety awareness.  Keeping a child safe should be a priority for every day care center.  Unfortunately, some day care centers are not so diligent with the supervision of the children.  Doors are left open, facilities are not kept in good repair, and most importantly supervision is lax.  Many day care centers put profits or income over the safety and supervision of the children.  Many hire low paying personnel with little or no training.  Furthermore, many such day care center workers are not motivated to put in a hard day’s work and do as little as possible just to get through the day and to the next paycheck. Of course, there are many hard working child care providers out there who work diligently to keep children safe and well supervised during the day.
When a child wanders out of a day care facility, the consequences can be disastrous and even deadly.  What if a chid wanders away from a day care center?  Can the center be sued?  These are common but excellent questions. There are four basic elements to bring forth a legal case or lawsuit against a day care center.
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
4. Damages.
Let’s explore two different similar cases that have different outcomes or damages.
Case #1.
A three year old child wanders out of the front door of the day care center.  He wanders into the street and crosses the road.  He is fortunately spotted by a local police officer who brings him back to the day care center facility. The parents are notified.  The three year old was scared but did not suffer any physical injuries and soon forgot about the whole incident. The three year old thought it was an adventure of sorts rather than a scary moment in time.
Case #2
A three year old child wanders out of the front door of the day care center.  He wanders into the street and crosses the road.  The child then attempts to cross the road again and then is hit by a vehicle. The child suffered broken / fractured leg as a result of the incident.
Case Analysis
In both case examples, the day care center breached its duty of supervision by allowing a three year old child to wander out of the facility.   The damages, however, in each case are quite different. In Case #1, the child was scared for a moment in time but seemed to get over the ordeal rather quickly.  In Case #2, the child suffered a broken/ fractured leg.
The damages for Case #2 are more tangible than those in Case #1.  Could a case be pursued for the incident as described in Case #1? The answer is possibly.   Case #1 lacks some physical injuries and will lack documentation showing the “damages”, injuries, or harm caused by the incident.
The book titled – Florida Day Care Center Injuries – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – Building Blocks of Knowledge for Parents – has chapters on Indoor Facilities, Outdoor Facilities, Emergency Procedures, Incident Reports, and other topics. You can get this book for free at Florida Day Care Center Injuries.