My Child Was Injured at Daycare or Summer Camp. What Should I Do?
One call has the power to launch you into a state of panic. You get that call that your child has been injured when you’re not around. It might be a daycare, or it could be your child is off at summer camp. The moment that call comes in, you may find your thoughts become scattered and make it hard to figure out what to do next.
The CDC estimates that 9.2 million children are seen in an emergency room each year with unintentional injuries. Falls account for the largest percentage of these injuries, but animal/insect bites/stings, burns, playground injuries, sports-related injuries, water-related injuries, overexertion, and getting hit by an object are also common.
When it’s your child that’s been injured, your first response will be to get to your child as fast as possible. It’s understandable. You do need to be safe doing so. You also need to make sure that the first priority is that your child is taken to an emergency room. If the daycare or camp isn’t doing that, make sure they do. After that, these are the steps to take.
Get to the ER if Possible
Get to the emergency room as quickly as you can. You’ll need to sign forms to allow treatments. If your child is at a summer camp in another state or hours away, this may be tricky to manage. Talk to the doctor who is treating your child and talk to your child if possible. Give whatever permissions are needed. Once that step is taken, you can make arrangements to get to the summer camp.
If the injury happened at a daycare, it’s likely a local facility. That makes it easier to get to your child. Talk to the person who calls to notify you of the injury and head to the location your child is at. If they feel the injury isn’t bad enough to need treatment, you do have the right to disagree and insist that your child is seen. You may need to take the child to the ER yourself. Tell the daycare you want to file an accident report and get your child to a medical facility for assessment. Head injuries may worsen hours from now, so it’s important to get a doctor’s advice.
Keep copies of all prescriptions, treatment plans, and medical bills. You will need them if a claim is filed.
Ask for Details on What Happened
Get details from any witnesses to the injury. Was your child goofing off and not listening to the camp counselor or daycare attendant? Did another child bite your child when the daycare workers were preparing snacks? Did your child access cleaners that should have been locked away in a cupboard? These details and the witnesses’ names are important if you decide to file a claim against the camp or daycare.
If you didn’t have time earlier, ask the camp or daycare if they have forms for accidents. They should. Make sure one is filled out and keep a copy of it.
Understand the Difference Between Negligence and Accidents
Most people look at the waiver they had to sign when enrolling their child in daycare or camp and think that the clause stating the facility isn’t liable for accidents means there’s no way to recover medical costs. They figure it’s not worthwhile to pursue a claim. Even if you’ve signed a waiver stating you will not hold the facility responsible for accidental injuries, remember this is accidental injuries. Negligence is a different story.
Make sure you understand the difference between something that happened accidentally and something that is due to negligence. Say the camp owner knew the steps to your child’s cabin were rotted but was waiting until the season ended to have repairs made, a fall through those stairs is no longer accidental. The owner was negligent.
A daycare case in Vermont involved a child who was left outside when the daycare owner failed to do a headcount after the children came back inside. When his parents came to pick him up, it was discovered he was missing. He was found in a nearby river. That’s a case of negligence on the staff’s part.
Get Answers to Your Questions Before You Decide to Avoid a Claim
It’s sometimes hard to decide if it really was accidental, negligence, or a mix of both. That’s why it’s always smart to talk to an attorney. They have the expertise you need to determine if the daycare or summer camp injury was the result of negligence or not.
Carpenter & Zuckerman have won the most verdicts of any California law firm for four years in a row. If you believe the daycare or camp isn’t doing enough to rectify the situation, Carpenter & Zuckerman may be able to help. Consultations are free, so there’s no risk to you. Give our personal injury attorneys and call and let us know how we can help.
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