Saint Paul Daycare Abuse Lawyers
When a parent discovers his or her child suffered abuse at a daycare center, talking to a licensed attorney can be an important step to take. The abuser, administrators or others may be held responsible for injuries your child may have sustained, and our attorneys know how to pursue damages in these kinds of claims. In a case pursued by partners Rich Ruohonen and Chuck Slane, our firm secured a $13.5 million verdict on behalf of a three-year-old who suffered physical and sexual abuse at a Minnesota daycare. Slane is a board-certified civil trial advocate and Ruohonen has been selected for Super Lawyers each year from 2003 to 2019.
We understand compensation does not change what happened, but it can be important as families look to move forward and help protect other children from similar types of abuse.
There is no charge for having your claim reviewed by one of our experienced attorneys. There is also no obligation to take legal action, and if you have a case, there are no upfront fees for our representation.
Call anytime to set up a free consultation at a time that works for you. (612) TSR-TIME
Do I Have a Daycare Abuse Case?
This is a complicated question to answer because there are so many aspects of a daycare abuse case. For example, who could be held liable for your child’s injuries?
The perpetrator may not be the only one to hold liability. The administrators/supervisors could also hold liability for failing to monitor the staff member or for hiring someone who did not pass a background check.
The owner of the facility could also hold liability for damages, because he or she is ultimately responsible for what goes on at the facility, even though others run the day-to-day operations.
Generally, daycare abuse cases are filed under the legal theory of negligence, which has four elements that must be proven:
- Duty of care was owed to your child – The at-fault party had a duty to take reasonable action to prevent your child from getting hurt, such as hiring qualified staff members, keeping the facility adequately staffed and providing adequate security. We may simply need to show you signed documents stating you were allowing the facility to watch your child in exchange for payment.
- Duty of care was breached – The liable parties did not uphold the duty of care. Maybe they violated state regulations or failed to monitor staff members to ensure children were safe.
- Causal link between injuries and breached duty of care – Your child would have been unharmed if not for the breach of duty of care. The breach must have directly led to injuries, otherwise there is no case.
- Existence of damages – The injuries your child suffered led to damages, like medical expenses and pain and suffering.
Unsure if you have a case? Call a St. Paul daycare abuse attorney for a free consultation. (612) TSR-TIME
Can I Pursue a Case If I Signed a Liability Waiver?
The short answer is “yes”. Liability waivers often do not hold up when challenged in court. Daycare facilities should not be able to avoid any liability for injuries to children under their care.
Facilities often have parents sign liability waivers when they enter into an agreement to have the facility watch their child. Administrators may be hoping parents will sign these and think they have no legal options if their child suffers an injury.
It is important to contact a licensed attorney to discuss the liability waiver you signed and whether you may be able to take legal action.
Causes of Abuse and Neglect in Daycare Centers
There are some common reasons why neglect or abuse occur at daycare facilities, and they could be used as examples of negligence in a legal claim.
Failure to Follow Regulations
Minnesota has many regulations for daycare facilities, governing how children must be treated (discipline, providing food and water, infant care, etc.), fire safety, training for caregivers and many other aspects of the services daycare centers provide. If our attorneys can prove regulations were violated and this led to an injury, you may have a case.
Daycare centers may want to save money by hiring fewer staff members. However, this puts a tremendous strain on the staff members who are there, who may struggle to properly monitor all the children and keep them out of harm’s way. If a child is left unsupervised, he or she could be abused by another child or even another staff member.
Staff members may be unqualified, poorly trained or simply failing to do their jobs properly. This can lead to children getting into a variety of dangerous situations.
Daycare staff members must have certain qualifications and training, and if they do not, the risk of abuse or neglect of children could increase. Administrators and others responsible for hiring could choose unqualified staff members because they failed to do a proper background or reference check. Unqualified staff members may not be able to handle an emergency properly, possibly resulting in severe or life-threatening injuries to a child.
Lack of Adequate Security
Children could suffer abuse from people outside the facility if it is improperly secured. Children may also be able to get outside the facility and put themselves in harm’s way.
There could be a variety of reasons why abuse or neglect occur. Our attorneys are prepared to review your situation to determine if negligence may have existed in your situation.
State Regulations for Daycare Centers
Our St. Paul daycare abuse lawyers have extensive knowledge of Minnesota regulations on daycare centers. If we can prove a facility violated regulations, we may be able to pursue compensation for your child’s damages.
Minnesota law defines a daycare center as a child care program operating during normal waking hours. The child care program must be in operation more than 30 days in a 12-month period and provide care to a child for more than 45 hours in a calendar month.
Unless a facility qualifies for an exclusion, it must be licensed by the Department of Human Services commission.
Daycare facilities must have spaces designated for different things, such as:
- Shielding of radiators, fireplaces, hot pipes or other hot surfaces
- Hand sinks for children not used for custodial work or food preparation
- Minimum temperature of 68 degrees in indoor areas that will be used by children
- Storage for every child’s clothing and personal belongings
- Outdoor activity area of at least 1,500 square feet
- Space for children to go if they become sick
Facilities must make hazardous areas, such as water hazards, kitchens and stairs inaccessible to children.
State regulations prohibit physical punishment of children, such as slapping, spanking, shoving, pinching or kicking. Staff members also cannot call children names, threaten or humiliate them.
Our attorneys may use a previous citation for a rule violation as evidence of negligence in your case, if the same regulation was violated.
Have questions about the legal process? Call TSR Injury Law for a free consultation.
Examples of Daycare Abuse
Child abuse at a daycare center usually falls into one of four categories:
Physical Child Abuse
This may involve punching, hitting, slapping, pulling of hair or some other type of physical violence. The abuse may have been perpetrated by a staff member or even another child.
If you notice bruises, aggression, fear of going to the daycare center, withdrawal from social situations, these could be signs your child has suffered physical abuse.
Is your child not getting enough food or water while staying at the daycare? Are staff members giving your child the medications his or her doctor prescribed? If your child is unusually hungry or tired when you pick him or her up, staff members may be neglecting him or her.
If your child was injured and staff members did not tell you or are not giving you much information, they could be trying to hide negligent supervision.
When staff members threaten or intimidate children, it can lead to may psychological problems. Your child may have nightmares, start wetting the bed, struggle with self esteem and confidence, or regress to a previous stage of development that might include sucking his or her thumb.
If your child seems unusually withdrawn, starts talking to you about a much older friend, scratches his or her genital area, or struggles with his or her body image, these could all be signs of sexual abuse. Your child may be afraid to say anything out of shame or because he or she has been intimidated or threatened by the abuser.
How to Report Daycare Abuse in Minnesota
Whenever your child is in physical danger, you can call 9-1-1 to report it to the police. They can investigate and get your child out of harm’s way.
It is also important to report what happened to the Department of Human Services. They can begin an investigation that may provide valuable evidence in a civil claim for damages.
Call a Saint Paul Daycare Abuse Lawyer to Discuss Your Claim
For more than 20 years representing Minnesota injury victims, our legal team has obtained over $150 million in compensation.
Our team of investigators, paralegals and support staff is prepared to go to work pursuing justice and fair compensation. We understand how devastating daycare abuse can be and how important compensation can be as families work through the damages they have experienced.
Your consultation is free of charge and comes with no obligation to take legal action. If you hire our firm, there will be no upfront fees for our services. We do not get paid unless you get paid first.
TSR Injury Law: (612) TSR-TIME. We are here to help.