Daycare Centers and Wrongful Death Claims
In August 2014, parents in Brunswick and all throughout Georgia watched intently as news unfolded surrounding the death of a three-month old infant while in the care of Generation Kids Preschool Nursery, a local daycare. Horrifically, the fears of this child’s parents were realized. Our hearts and deepest sympathies go out to them.
Unfortunately, the deaths and injuries of children at daycare facilities are more common than parents may realize. According to news reports, Generation Kids Preschool Nursery had been cited by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning for violations regarding supervision and infant sleep safety. Whether these violations contributed to the infant’s death is unknown. Shortly after the child’s death, the daycare was shut down. This tragic story and others like it give rise to the consistent increase in wrongful death lawsuits against daycare centers in Georgia.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit and What Must be Proven?
When a child, or any other person, dies due to another party’s negligent, careless, or reckless act(s), the surviving family members may have a civil cause of action under Georgia’s wrongful death laws. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that the family can file against the offending party. This lawsuit can be brought regardless of whether any criminal charges have been brought against the party or whether the party is found guilty or innocent of such charges.
In order to prevail in such a lawsuit, four elements must be proven. The elements of a wrongful death lawsuit against a daycare center and/or its employees are the same as a wrongful death lawsuit in any other personal injury claim:
- Breach of Duty;
- Causation; and
“Duty” is obvious, as the daycare facility has a legal duty to provide a safe environment for the child and to protect the child from harm while in the facility’s care. “Breach of Duty” refers to the daycare’s failure to provide a safe environment or protect the child from harm. In a wrongful death case, “Damages” are the death of the child. “Causation” is typically the most difficult element to prove in a wrongful death action against a daycare facility.
To establish causation, one must prove that the daycare’s actions or inactions resulted in a breach of the duty of care owed to the child and subsequently “caused” the child’s death. In some cases, the cause of the child’s death may be obvious and easy to link to the duty of care. In other cases, however, it is more difficult.
Experts are often needed to determine if the daycare could have prevented the incident which caused the child’s death and if the incident in question did in fact cause the death of the child. An experienced daycare abuse attorney understands the elements of a wrongful death action and has the expertise necessary to build a strong case against the daycare facility.
Has Your Child Been Injured in a Daycare Facility?
The thought of having to entrust your child with virtual strangers is terrifying for all parents. However, this is exactly what millions of parents do each day when they drop their child off at a daycare facility.
When a daycare facility fails to protect your child, someone must be held accountable.