What parents need to know about criminal and civil abuse casesIf you suspect your child has been physically or sexually abused at daycare, it’s important to trust your parental instincts and take prompt action to protect your child from any further harm. Our Texas child injury attorney recommends you should:

  • Contact law enforcement immediately to file a report so officers can begin an investigation.
  • Take your child to a doctor for a full examination.
  • Take photos of your child’s injuries, save any torn or ripped clothing, and write down any usual behavior you’ve witnessed while it’s still fresh in your mind.
  • File a report with the daycare facility administrators.
  • Find alternative childcare arrangements.
  • Contact a personal injury attorney to learn about filing a civil suit seeking financial compensation for your child.

Criminal Charges Are Separate From Civil Claims

If your child is the victim of physical or sexual abuse, the state will file the appropriate criminal charges. In many cases, the perpetrator will be charged with a felony and face the possibility of several years behind bars. Your child’s name will not be released to the public, and special precautions will be taken if your child is required to provide a statement to the court.

Unfortunately, criminal cases involving the physical or sexual abuse of a child can be difficult to win. Often, there is little direct evidence, or the child’s injuries aren’t definitively an indication of abuse. However, you still have a right to file a civil claim on behalf of your child even if the responsible party is found not guilty of the criminal charges.

Civil Daycare Abuse Cases Have a Lower Burden of Proof

In a criminal case, the defendant must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil case, the plaintiff must only prove that the defendant is guilty by a preponderance of the evidence. This simply means that it is more likely than not that the allegations are true.

A criminal conviction can be used to support your civil case, but you may still have a strong case even if the criminal charges against the daycare worker who abused your child were unsuccessful.

The Texas Daycare Center May Also Be Liable for Your Child's Abuse

The person who directly harmed your child may not be the only party who can be held legally responsible. Daycare centers, whether they are run as in-home operations or as a standalone facility, are required to take steps to provide a safe and secure environment for the children in their care. This includes the following actions to prevent physical or sexual abuse:

  • A daycare facility has a responsibility to conduct thorough background checks to ensure that workers do not have a history of mistreating children or other vulnerable individuals.
  • The facility is required by law to implement several security practices that reduce the risk of abuse, such as policies that reduce the time adults spend alone with children.
  • All daycare employees are mandatory reporters who are legally required to report suspicions of child abuse to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services within 48 hours. This includes abuse by other employees of the facility or by relatives of those associated with an in-home care provider.

When a daycare fails to uphold its duty of care to the children its responsible for, it can be named as a defendant in a civil suit.

The Button Law Firm Is Committed to Protecting the Rights of Vulnerable Children

Discovering that your child has been mistreated by the people you trusted to keep them safe is understandably heartbreaking. However, you’re not alone.

Our team of experienced and compassionate daycare injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm is dedicated to fighting for you and your family if your child is abused while in the care of a negligent daycare center. With attorneys in Dallas, Houston, and Midland, we are ready to listen, fight for your family, and help your family move forward. Our attorneys at The Button Law Firm are recognized on the prestigious Texas Super Lawyers list, and we can help guide you after a traumatizing incident involving your child. We work on contingency, meaning we don’t charge you or collect any upfront fees to get started on your case. Get a free consultation by calling 214-699-4409, emailing us at [email protected], or completing a contact form.

Russell Button
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Dallas, Houston, and Midland Texas trial and personal injury lawyer dedicated to securing justice for clients.