Child injured at care provider's home...

by Kristina
(Las Vegas, NV)

My son was injured at a care provider's home. She is a stay at home mom, not a licensed daycare. He ended up with a sewing needle (3" or so) in his forearm (a freak accident, yes). It must have been stuck in the wood on the couch, sharp side first. He ran by and jammed the needle, dull side first, all the way into his arm.

The hospital originally told me the bill would be $550, so I decided I would not ask the woman to pay as she is also a single mom. Now that the bills are coming in, one sits at $2500 and I just received another for $2300, which I am having my insurance broker try to negotiate. If it doesn't come down, I am looking at almost $5000.

I asked her to file a claim through her homeowners insurance and now she is saying the only reason I am asking her to do that is because of a change in pay. She expected me to pay for days that my son wasn't in her care, even thought I have told her at least twice that the bill is upwards of $5000 now.

Should I push the issue? Does she have to file the claim or is there a way I can find out who her insurance is and file a claim myself? I don't really want to go to court as that is more money out of my pocket, time away from work, and stress. I am not sure if I should go after this or just suck it up and pay the bill. What are my options? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Child injured at care provider's home...":

Kristina (Las Vegas, NV):

You are bound to compensate the care provider only in the amount you agreed to pay her pursuant to a written or verbal agreement. If your initial agreement with the care provider called for her to be paid when your son was in her care, and at no other time, then that's the agreement which will prevail.

There appears to be an issue of negligence. Your son was left under the supervision of a care provider. While she was not licensed, she still had a legal duty to do everything possible to assure your son would be safe from undue harm or injury while he was in her care.

The existence of a 3" sewing needle in proximity to your son may have been an act of negligence. If that is the case, the care provider may be legally responsible for your son's medical bills, out of pocket expenses, your lost wages while caring for him, and for his pain and suffering.

Unfortunately, if the care provider were to file a claim with her homeowner's insurance company, it is likely the insurance company would deny the claim. This will be true if the homeowners insurance did not cover injuries resulting from a continuing business enterprise on the property.

It is likely the homeowner's coverage did not apply to injuries to third parties resulting from an ongoing business on the insured's property. Therefore, you may have to sue the provider personally to recover your son's damages. Nevada small claims courts hear cases up to $10,000.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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