Nannies and Day Care Centers Have Responsibilities
Nannies, day care centers, and other people or organizations contract to look after children when their parents or guardians are not present. They may be at work, ill, or otherwise indisposed. It is usual for parents and guardians to assume that the child will be cared for and supervised properly. Accidents happen and young children can suffer injury, sometimes severe injury. It is natural to assume that either it was "a freak accident" that no one could have foreseen or that it was the result of someone's negligence. Apart from the emotional trauma, pain, physical suffering and the need for medical treatment, parents must ask themselves, "Was anyone to blame, and what should I do?"
The Law is Not Always Clear or Simple
If a child is badly injured, there may be a case for compensation, both to cover medical expenses and to compensate the child for the trauma associated with the injury. Proving negligence, or even abuse by a nanny or care center employee demands that a clear and logical case be set out and presented. The case, as well as being clear and logical, must address statutes and, possibly, legal precedent.
To win a case, a plaintiff must show that the adult or organization:
- Had a duty to care for and protect the child from harm.
- Intentionally or casually breached their duty by doing something they should not have done, by not doing something they should have done, or by not doing it well enough and if not, why not?
- Was the cause of the injury the direct result of their action or inaction? The legal phrase proximate cause is critical in a court determining liability.
A court can decide that there was a duty of care, the duty was not properly fulfilled, the child was injured, but the injury was not, actually, the direct result of the negligence. The legal test a court will apply is, "was there proximate cause and has that been proven?" If the court decides there was remote cause rather than proximate cause, the case could fail and there would be no compensation.
The Way Forward
A successful case rests on the basic tests being met and proven through detailed information and preparation. Achieving this demands:
- A detailed knowledge of these aspects of New York or even federal law.
- Appropriate investigation of the overall situation and the facts associated with the event that resulted in injury.
- Obtaining appropriate witness statements.
- Providing expert information associated with the injuries, the treatment, the costs, the prognosis, and expected future condition.
- Establishing strict liability by the nanny or care center and that the proximate cause(s) of the injury was the result of negligence, recklessness, or intent.
If you are a parent or guardian of a young child, it will be in the child's best interests to seek not just legal advice but the advice of an attorney with specialist knowledge and in-depth experience of such cases. To that end, if you would like to discuss a situation with us, please click here to contact us.