Visitor Question

Compensation after daughter was injured by running into cubby at daycare?

Submitted By: Anonymous (San Antonio, Texas)

My daughter who will be 3 soon attends a daycare in Texas. I went to pick her up today and the director met me at the door and informed me that my daughter had ran into the corner of the cubby shelf and cut her eyebrow open. She said she had an incident report that I could sign the next day due to possibly needing to get my daughter to the pediatrician to be checked out today.

When I went into the classroom the teacher was holding a paper towel on my daughter’s eyebrow and it was bleeding, not abundantly but there was visible blood on the paper and then showing through on the band aid they gave her while I was there. The director and teacher explained that my daughter was running in the classroom and thought she was going to go under the cubby shelf backwards but turned and hit the corner instead.

While the director left to get my daughter a band aid and the teacher was explaining further and apologizing for what happened, I witnessed the other 4-5 children in the room were still running and another child hit his head on another part of the cubby shelf and began to cry.

This shelf is at a height where children can easily run into it and there isn’t any corner protection on it. It should be noted that it ends in the middle of a long wall in the classroom with nothing blocking the side of it. My husband had to take her to urgent care which took about 3 hours and cost $110 copay/deductible. Her injury required glue and we were instructed not to put anything on it.

I feel the need to keep her home the rest of the week to make sure she isn’t running around in class and opens the wound back up. We pay weekly for her tuition.

Is it reasonable to ask for credit for the two days missed and compensation for the medical bill? Also, what if we get another bill in the mail at a later time from insurance that maybe wasn’t covered at time of service, and now we have only asked for the $110?

I feel that the daycare should compensate us somehow because had they childproofed the cubby corners, not placed them in a location where children could run into them, and/or the teacher not allowed the children to be running in the classroom (as the director stated), my daughter may not have had an injury requiring an urgent care visit and glue to close the cut to her eye and possible future scarring that may occur.

Last question, should I refuse to sign the incident report as it is written by them? Would that mean I agree to what they are stating or make them no longer liable? Thank you!

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

Read the daycare center documents you signed when enrolling your daughter.. It is likely one of those documents was a Release of Liability. Within the Release is language indicating you release the daycare center from liability for injuries your daughter may sustain while at the daycare center.

The agreement you signed when enrolling your daughter probably had language similar to the following:

“I understand that by signing this Childcare Waiver of Liability, I release and hold harmless ABC Daycare, and its owners, directors, officers, advisors, employees, agents, instructors, volunteers, childcare workers, and all other persons or entities acting for them from any and all claims, demands, suits, cost and charges, in connection with or arising out of ABC Daycare, including but not limited to, personal injury, bodily harm, injury, or property damage occurring while the above child/children is/are in their care at ABC Daycare….”

While daycare releases are normally binding, in some circumstances, they may be overcome. To do so would require you to prove the injury to your daughter was not foreseeable in light of the Release you signed. This would require you to show the daycare center or its employee were “grossly negligent,” or they displayed a “wanton disregard for the safety and well-being” of your daughter, and as result, your daughter was injured.

It would not be unreasonable for you to ask the daycare center owner to credit your account for the two days your daughter was unable to attend the daycare center. You can also ask to be reimbursed for the time you may have lost from work because of the need to care for your daughter while she was recovering. Finally, you can ask the daycare center owner to agree to pay for any doctors’ bills, past, present, and future.

While there is no guarantee the daycare center owner will cooperate, you would be remiss in not asking. In the event the daycare center will not cooperate, your options are quite limited. It would probably not be worth your time or expense to sue the daycare center. All you would likely be able to recover would be the costs set out above. Moreover, in light of your daughter’s relatively minor injury, it would be quite difficult to find a personal injury attorney to accept your case.

For more information on Daycare Center Requirements in the State of Texas see:
Texas DFPS: Minimum Standards For Child-Care Centers

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

Best of luck,

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