Leaving one’s child with a daycare service is an understandable source of apprehension for many parents. While most companies and individuals provide safe and caring environments for children, this is sadly not always the case. Parents often experience difficulty in recognizing which centers and services are secure, and some may unknowingly leave their children in dangerous environments, including those in which physical abuse of children occurs. If you suspect that your child is being physically abused while at day care, you are well-advised to report your suspicions and seek immediate help.
If your child has suffered physical abuse while at day care, you may be entitled to compensation from those responsible. Contact day care physical child abuse lawyer Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927 to learn more about your legal options.
Physical Signs of Abuse
Physically abused children exhibit a range of indicators that may tip off a parent or other adult to the abuse. If you notice any of the following physical signs on your child, your child may be the victim of daycare physical abuse:
- Unreasonable or unexplained bruises, cuts, welts, bites, or burns
- Unexplained and unusual broken bones
- Skin discoloration
- Torn clothing
- A pattern of similar injuries that extend over a long period of time
Children are naturally prone to injure themselves through interaction with other children or through clumsy behavior, so it may be difficult to recognize physical abuse from external indicators alone. Take your suspicions of child abuse seriously and investigate further to see if your child is indeed the victim of such abuse. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has made specific recommendations regarding the tests that should be performed on children who are suspected of having been physically abused.
Behavioral Signs of Abuse
Behavioral signs are the most prominent indicators of a child who has been physically abused. The following mannerisms are common signs of physical child abuse:
- Avoidance of physical contact with other people or flinching behavior when someone makes a move to touch the child
- Decision or insistence by the child to wear long, full-covering clothing
- Refusal to undress or reveal skin in front of others (in gym or physical education classes, for example)
- Inability to explain the source of an injury
- Aggressive manner with indications of intentions to injure others
- Frequent complaints of pain
- Changes in behavior such as excessive compliance or withdrawal
Legal Liability for Daycare Physical Abuse Injuries
- State Regulations for Daycare Center Facilities
Though there are no federal child-care standards, state child care facilities licensing acts generally provide requirements for the hiring of daycare center staff. The violation of these standards under the laws of many states may be considered negligence as a matter of law. If a center’s violation of a state daycare standard is determined to have been a cause of the physical abuse of a child entrusted to the center’s care, the center may be held liable for the resulting damages suffered by the child in an action for negligence.
- Screening, Hiring, Training, and Retention Practices
When a center has been negligent in its hiring, screening, or training of center staff, for example, and a staff member hired, trained, or retained through such negligent conduct engages in the physical abuse of a child under the center’s care, the center may be held liable for the damages suffered by the child as a result of the employee’s physical abuse.
Even if a daycare center has complied with state regulations in its hiring and training of employees and has taken the utmost care in screening, hiring, and training each of its staff members, the center may nevertheless be held liable for acts of physical abuse committed by a center staff member if the employer, after the staff member has been hired, has reason to suspect or reasonably should have suspected that the staff member has abused a child or is likely to abuse a child.
- Damages in Daycare Physical Abuse Cases
When a child has suffered physical abuse from a daycare center employee, the child may be able to recover damages in a negligence action against the daycare center for physical and emotional injuries that have been sustained by the child as a result of the physical abuse. Compensatory damages in physical abuse cases (i.e., damages intended to compensate a plaintiff for the injuries the plaintiff has suffered as a result of the defendant’s conduct) may include costs of past and future medical expenses, costs of psychological therapy for emotional trauma associated with the abuse, and compensation for the child’s pain and suffering.
In some cases, punitive damages (i.e., damages intended to punish a defendant) may also be awarded. If the conduct of the daycare center employee who committed the physical abuse is found to have been particularly egregious, for example, a court may find that punitive damages are justified.
If your child has suffered physical abuse while at day care, contact day care physical child abuse lawyer Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927 for compassionate and knowledgeable assistance with your case.