The world is filled with plaintiff’s lawyers, some very good, others far less so.
If you’re a daycare center or preschool operator, you hopefully will never have to deal with either type. Unfortunately, accidents happen, and a negligence lawsuit can put you out of business, if only because of the attendant reputational harm.
Assume for a moment that one of your enrolled children has, in fact, been hurt in some way while in your care. Here are the three questions that personal-injury attorneys hired by the parents will look at first:
- Was your child’s injury the result of inadequate supervision?
Inadequate supervision – or a too-high ratio of children to staff — is one of the most common causes of daycare or preschool injury. The lawyers will tell parents that if they believe their child’s injury could have been prevented with better supervision, they have a strong case.
Moreover, if the staff ratio was under state minimums – these vary from state to state and depend on the age of the children enrolled in your center – parents also are likely to have a strong case against the school.
- Did the center or school fail to take appropriate precautions to prevent the accident from occurring?
Daycare and preschool centers have an obligation to keep their spaces safe and to take steps to prevent accidents from happening. If a staff member leaves a door open, for instance, and a child walks out of the room and gets hurt, this means that the school didn’t take all appropriate precautions to prevent accidents. In other words, expect a lawsuit.
- Did the facility fail to act quickly after the accident?
Yes, again, we know sometimes accidents are inevitable. Children fall, they get hurt, and that’s part of growing up. However, caretakers have a duty to act quickly when children are injured to prevent further injury and to help mitigate the accident.
If a child falls and scrapes their knee, for example, the staff should not leave the child untreated. A scraped knee should be cleaned and bandaged to prevent infection. If the staff fails to do so and it results in an infection, this could be considered negligence.
Joaquin Escobar, an Insurance Advisor at CCIG, handles the risk management and insurance needs of commercial childcare and school accounts. Reach him at 720-212-2054 or JoaquinE@thinkccig.com.
CCIG is a Denver-area insurance brokerage with the full-service capabilities of a national brokerage. We do more than make sure you have the right policy. We also help you manage your long-term cost of risk with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.