While our culture often defines success by looking at someone’s material possessions, our work reminds us every day that our own health and the well-being of our loved ones that truly matters most. From the moment your child is born, he/she matters more than any trendy smartphone or fancy car. Modern life often means entrusting children to day care providers. When this trust is violated, the child pays the price. Our Northern California child injury law firm in Sonoma, Oakland, and San Francisco works with parents and guardians to recover financial damages that can protect a child’s future after a daycare injury.
One Teen’s Impressive Courage Despite Daycare Injury Earlier this week, The Press Democrat profiled a courageous young man from Windsor. Jack is an 18 year old high-school junior and interested in day working in the public safety arena. In addition to being an athlete, Jack is part of the Rincon Valley Fire and Windsor Police Explorer Programs. While he works diligently, he has had to accept that certain career options are not possibilities. He envisions a career with the fire department but knows he could never be the type of firefighter who rushes to the scene of a fire and carries people trapped inside to safety. Jack is mostly blind.
Jack’s blindness is the result of violence he suffered when he was only 3 ½ months old. At that tender age, he was severely shaken by a daycare worker. Initially, his mother was told he would never walk or talk. Jack has fought hard to overcome his remaining challenges and no longer thinks about the woman who changed his life in an instant.
The Mechanics of a Child’s Injury Claim If your child is injured by a daycare worker, you may be able to file a civil claim on the child’s behalf. Typically, your attorney will file a motion for you to be appointed a guardian ad litem, meaning you stand in the child’s shoes and act in the child’s best interests. The claim belongs to the child him/herself. When a civil claim is on a child’s behalf, a judge must approve any settlement. While in some instances, an individual may be able to file an injury claim after turning 18 that relates back to an injury in childhood, we recommend talking to a child injury lawyer as soon as possible.
A civil claim is in addition to any possible criminal charges. As in other fields of injury law, the elements and standard of proof in a civil case are often different than those in a criminal prosecution. In particular, as noted in California Civil Jury Instruction (“CACI”) Number 200, the elements of a crime in a criminal case must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt while in a civil case the plaintiff’s burden of proof is a less-stringent “more likely true than not true” standard.
Claims and Damages in Daycare Injury Suits Several different claims might apply in a daycare injury case, including claims against an individual worker and/or against the childcare center. Your child may have a personal injury claim based on a negligence theory which would require showing that the defendant had a duty to care for the child, breached that duty, and that the breach led to the child’s injuries (see CACI 400). Other possible civil claims include breach of contract, negligent supervision of the child, and/or negligent supervision of an employee (i.e. a claim against a care center tied to the actions/inaction of an employee).
When an injury is long-term, relevant damages may include but are not limited to: Money for medical bills; Compensation for lost earnings capacity; Money to cover other costs tied to the injury (ex. a personal care worker now and in the future, home renovations for accessibility, etc.), and Compensation for pain and suffering. Typically, the proceeds of a child injury claim are placed in a trust until the child reaches maturity. Parents/guardians may be able to obtain money from the trust to pay the child’s injury-related expenses prior to the child turning 18.
Representing Children in Northern California Injuries in childhood can impact an individual for a lifetime. If your child is injured by a day care worker, either intentionally or due to the worker’s negligence, the child may have a civil claim. Attorney Greg Brod has experience serving as an injury attorney for children in Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Oakland, and throughout Northern California. Call to arrange a free consultation to discuss how we can help protect your child’s future.
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