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Seattle School Accident Lawyers

Was Your Child Injured During School, Sports, or at Daycare?

Children spend more of their waking hours at school than they do at home, so it’s no surprise that thousands of accidents occur every year. Most are minor, but sometimes, a child can be seriously injured. When these injuries occur, parents often wonder who is responsible, and what they can do to get compensation for the medical bills, lost time at work, emotional distress, and other costs created by what happened.

If you suspect your child was hurt by poor supervision at school, or is being abused while at daycare, please call (425) 228-3860 immediately to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer at Pendergast Law.

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Dangers at School and Daycare

From the time they leave home in the morning to the time they get back in the afternoon, there are a number of things that can injure a child. Some of the most common dangers are:

  • Crosswalk accidents
  • Playground accidents
  • School bus accidents
  • Classroom accidents, particularly in gym or physical education
  • Shaken baby syndrome
  • Sexual abuse
  • Assault
  • Defective children's products, such as playground or sports equipment, and tainted food

Resulting injuries can cause permanent physical and psychological damage to a child, and result in financial and emotional hardships for the parents.

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Who Is Responsible for After-School and Extracurricular Activities?

When your child is involved in an after-school or extracurricular activity such as a club, enrichment activity, a sport, or band, the school is still responsible for your child’s safety and well-being. For risky physical activities, such as sports, you could be asked to sign a waiver accepting responsibility for your child if he or she is injured while participating. But parents need to understand that this waiver does not eliminate all of the responsibilities of the school and its employees. Teachers, coaches, and staff members are still required to maintain an acceptable level of safety during all events and activities, and to get prompt medical help for children who show signs of an injury. When they don’t, they may be held liable in court.

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Signs of Child Abuse in a Daycare Setting

Unfortunately, children who are being injured or abused at daycare are too young to clearly communicate what is happening to them. As a parent, it is important to take signs of unexplained injuries and changes in behavior very seriously. Some common indications of abuse of a small child include:

  • New bruises, scratches, or wounds on your child when you pick him or her up at daycare. In cases of abuse, the injuries are normally on the wrists, arms, neck, shoulders, or buttocks. In addition, if your child flinches at sudden movements, he or she is may have been abused.
  • Drastic and unexplained changes in behavior. If your child suddenly becomes shy or depressed, it may be due to mistreatment or neglect at daycare.
  • Recurring nightmares could also be caused by traumatic events at daycare.
  • Your child suddenly starts to misbehave or act out in social situations, or becomes violent and hits others when upset. He or she could be learning these actions as a result of being abused at daycare.

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What About Bullying and Harassment?

Sadly, bullying and harassment within the school environment are continuing to increase. And more and more parents are seeking legal assistance to hold the school administration responsible when issues of bullying are not addressed. In some cases, the bullying leads to physical confrontations and injuries, while in other cases, parents are pursuing wrongful death lawsuits after older children have died by suicide due to intense bullying.

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Liability in School and Daycare Accidents

Parents may want to file a lawsuit against a school or daycare after their child sustains an injury while in the school’s care, but they may not always be able to do so.

To have an eligible lawsuit, the parents have to be able to prove that the school or daycare was negligent. A school or individual staff member may be negligent if they did not provide proper supervision, or if they knew that a child was being bullied or assaulted by another student but didn’t stop it.

But Washington courts also recognize that kids will be kids, and they are likely to experience accidents at school. Because of this, if the child was simply playing on the playground and fell off a swing, and there was adequate supervision, the courts would not likely find the school negligent.

In the case of accidents at daycares, if the court found that the daycare was not licensed, it could be found negligent even if that negligence didn’t directly cause the accident. In Washington, all daycare facilities need to be licensed, and if they are not, one could argue that the accident should have never happened because the daycare should never have been open!

Filing a personal injury lawsuit after a child sustains an injury at a school or daycare can be very complicated. Because public schools are government entities, there are very strict timelines and conditions on how and when the school can be sued. If your child has been injured while at school or daycare, contact the experienced Seattle child injury attorneys at Pendergast Law. Dial (888) 228-3860 for a free consultation.

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