Parents who depend on daycare centers to care for their children while they are at work expect their children to be safe and well cared for, but this is not always the case. According to a study published in 2018, nearly 90 children lost their lives in Texas daycares over the prior decade because of daycare abuse and neglect.
No amount of money can bring your child back, but a wrongful death claim can bring the responsible party to justice—and help keep something similar from happening to another child. Because wrongful death claims are legally complex and emotionally exhausting, you need an experienced Texas daycare injury attorney on your side.
Types of Daycare Injuries That Can Be Fatal
Parents of young children should know that kids under 12 months are most likely to suffer fatal injuries, although kids of any age can be injured. These include:
- Burn injuries
- Accidental poisonings
- Suffocation from bedding or stuffed toys
- Shaken baby syndrome
- Car accidents or parking lot accidents
Where Fatal Daycare Injuries Are Likely to Occur
Accidents are not uncommon at daycare centers where a caregiver's attention is divided among numerous children. Some of the places where accidents are more likely to happen include:
- Playgrounds. Most daycare centers have playgrounds for kids, and it is essential for children to have constant supervision or they can get hurt. The most common injuries on playgrounds are head or brain injuries and broken bones from falls. Strangulation from slides, swings, or jump ropes is another common injury.
- Indoor areas. Furniture with sharp edges can be dangerous for young children. If kitchen areas are not blocked off from children, kids can get burns if they do not know to avoid stoves and other hot objects. Children are often poisoned by common household chemicals, cleaners, and medicines if these items are not kept out of reach.
- Sleep areas. Children may not be safe when confined to a crib or other sleep area, particularly infants who are not placed in the proper position for sleep.
- Toys. Riding toys, such as tricycles and scooters, can cause serious injuries and even death if a child falls and isn’t wearing a helmet. Toys that have small parts can cause choking. Poorly designed electric toys can cause burns.
- Pools. If a daycare has a swimming pool or a class takes a trip to a swimming pool, the risk of drowning exists when children are left unattended.
Understanding a Wrongful Death Claim
In Texas, a victim’s family may file a wrongful death claim in civil court even if the defendant is facing criminal charges at the same time. Liability in a civil case is expressed in terms of monetary damages only. In a criminal case, however, charges are filed by the prosecuting attorney’s office. If found guilty, the defendant could receive punishment in the form of fines, penalties, and imprisonment or probation.
Family members of the victim may be awarded the following damages:
- Medical expenses incurred before the victim’s death
- Funeral expenses of the victim
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of companionship and love
- Mental anguish and suffering
In some cases, the family might be awarded punitive damages designed to punish the negligent or abusive party. Punitive damages are awarded only in cases where the death is determined to have been caused by willful misconduct or gross negligence.