The short answer to this question is that, as the parent of an injured child, you do not have to prove anything. Your suspicions should be enough to prompt you to report the school or individual to Child Protective Services (CPS) and to call a child injury lawyer right away. At that point, it is the CPS's job to investigate for criminal wrongdoing and the lawyer's job to prove negligence.
Attorney Michael Behm has made it his mission to help children who have been harmed because an adult failed to keep them safe. If your child was hurt at school or daycare, contact us to find out if your child has a case for negligent supervision.
Proving Negligent Child Supervision
You left your child in someone's care, and your child was hurt. You were not there to witness the accident, but you trusted that person to be vigilant in keeping your child out of harm's way, and they clearly broke that trust because your child was injured. However, in order to have a legal case against a caregiver for negligent supervision, you must meet the following criteria for negligence:
- The caregiver had a duty to keep the child safe. A babysitter hired to watch a child, teachers and aides in a school or daycare center, and the child's other parent are examples of people who have a clear duty to protect the child from harm. However, this duty is less clear for a bystander at a playground, the parent of another child who is visiting, or a custodial employee of the school. A lawyer can help determine the duty of care.
- The caregiver breached their duty. This is really the sticking point of any negligence claim. Proving breach of duty would require evidence that the caregiver left the child unattended, was distracted by their phone, allowed the child near unsafe equipment, failed to stop another child from harming them, or neglected their duty in some other way. Eyewitness statements, video footage, or an admission by the caregiver could serve as evidence.
- The child was injured as a direct result of the breach of duty. Next, a connection would have to be made between the accident—such as a fall off of playground equipment or being hit by a bat—and the child's current specific physical injury. This can be done with a doctor's statement and medical records.
- The child suffered damages because of the injury. Finally, it will have to be shown that the child suffered losses, such as the cost of the child's medical care, a parent's lost wages, or permanent scarring or disability, in order to hold some responsible for compensating them.
Before we consider taking a child injury case, we will make sure that the case meets these standards. The stronger the evidence is, the more likely it is that we will be able to help the child recover damages.
Injuries That Can Result From Negligent Child Supervision
Serious injuries can happen in a split second. Storing a bottle warmer within a child's reach, leaving the room for ten seconds, turning away to take a call—these negligent actions could be all it takes for a child to be seriously injured. Common injuries that result from inadequate supervision include:
- Burns. A child who is not being watched could quickly get burned by a hot stove, a lit candle, a hot drink, or an unprotected outlet. Burns can cause permanent scarring and disfigurement.
- Traumatic brain injuries. A fall from even a foot off the ground can cause a brain injury that leaves the child with cognitive and motor impairments for life.
- Broken bones. Falls from playground equipment, down a flight of stairs, or being shoved by another child can cause a fractured arm, collarbone, or pelvis. These kinds of injuries in a growing child can cause permanent disability.
- Spinal cord injury. If a child fractures vertebrae in an accident, the damage to their spinal cord could be irreversible. Paralysis from the point of injury down is a likely outcome of a spinal cord injury.
These kinds of injuries can change the trajectory of a child's life. Permanent disability or disfigurement has serious impacts on a young person's future.
Suspect Negligent Supervision? Contact Behm & Behm Law Firm Today
As a Michigan negligent supervision and child injury lawyer, Michael Behm understands the importance of holding negligent caregivers responsible for the harm they have caused. He has fought for many other children to get the compensation they deserved after an injury, and he can help your child too. If your child has suffered at the hands of a negligent caregiver, do not hesitate to seek legal advice. Contact Behm & Behm Law Firm today to learn about your child's options.