Personal Injury Lawyers in Atlanta
Daycare Negligence Accidents
Call Our Atlanta Law Office Today At 404-618-0960.
As a father of three, James Paisley and his wife, Katie, came to understand the necessity of having a loving, safe, and nurturing environment for their children when they could not be by their side during the work days. Even the most exhaustive parental auditing of a daycare facility cannot expose some of the dangers kids might face on a daily basis. As one can imagine, despite strict state regulation, not all daycare facilities are run at top-notch or even safe standards. To get a phone call from your child's faculty, and be told that you must come to the school because there has been an “accident,” has to be one of the most frightening moments of a parent's life. You want answers right away: Is my son okay? Is my daughter hurt? Where are they? How did this happen?
This nightmare is a reality for too many families, whose children have been injured or killed due to caregivers' negligence. Ranging from minor injuries to fatality, when it comes to caregivers failing to act appropriately, action must be taken. We created this particular page to be a resource for tools and valuable information for parents to make sure they can be informed on the laws, rules, and public records for daycare facilities in Georgia.
Daycare Authority and Law in Georgia
Child Care Learning Centers (daycare and pre-schools) are governed by Georgia's Department of Early Care and Learning or DECAL - their website is decal.ga.gov, and is a great resource for parents interested in laws, rules, open records, licensing, and disciplinary history of a particular facility. O.C.G.A. § 20-1A-1 – Creation of DECAL, reads as follows:
The Department of Early Care and Learning is created as a department of the executive branch of state government and shall have the duties, responsibilities, functions, powers, and authority set forth in this chapter and otherwise provided by law. The Department of Early Care and Learning is the successor to the Office of School Readiness and shall have the duties, responsibilities, functions, powers, authority, employees, office equipment, furniture, and other assets formerly held by the Office of School Readiness. The Department of Early Care and Learning shall be a separate budget unit.
Based on this statute, DECAL created the regulatory governing body, Bright From the Start, and all rules and regulations are codified under Ga. Comp.R.& Regs. R. 591-1-1. This set of rules formally known as the “Rules and Regulations for Child Care Learning Centers.”
Chapter 591 creates strict rules for many areas of child care including animals, bathroom conditions, health, records, health records, diaper changing areas, toy approval, hygiene, field trips, sanitation, kitchen operations, medications, and many more. We encourage every parent to be armed with knowledge about these rules so they may properly vet an establishment. The 92 page Bright From The Start PDF document covering all these rules is public and may be read on this link: http://decal.ga.gov/documents/attachments/cclcrulesandregulations.pdf.
The more the public knows, the more children will be protected. The most common violation of these rules is when a daycare knows and is informed of an injury or incident in their facility and they fail to self-report the incident to DECAL. We find the best facilities often over-report even the most minor of violations or incidents.
Negligence Law for Daycare Facilities
A daycare facility is held to a ordinary negligence standard as set out in § 51-3-1 (2010) - Duty of owner or occupier of land to invitee:
“Where an owner or occupier of land, by express or implied invitation, induces or leads others to come upon his premises for any lawful purpose, he is liable in damages to such persons for injuries caused by his failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.”
“Failure to exercise ordinary care” might include any of the following:
- Providing an unsafe environment, such as leaving sharp or dangerous objects or broken equipment on the playground;
- Having knowledge of a hazardous condition and failing to remedy the hazard;
- Repeated safety violations;
- Negligent supervision, such as staff leaving children unattended who may fight each other, touch hazardous objects, or run away;
- Inadequate hiring, such as failing to conduct background checks to weed out applicants with a criminal record of child abuse;
- Intentional physical or emotional abuse;
- Understaffing the facility, which can lead to a lack of supervision or neglecting children's needs;
- Poor organization, which can lead to giving a child the wrong medication, serving expired food products, or causing an allergic reaction;
- Car or bus wrecks during field trips;
- Unsanitary conditions;
- Poor and careless cleaning practices where exposing dangerous chemicals to the children injures or burns them.
Our firm has handled countless cases involving many of the above incidents and they all are heartbreaking and highly emotionally charged situations.
Do Your Research Before Enrolling Your Child
Always ask the tough questions. Always try to ascertain the following:
- Whether they are insured per the statute for injuries to children, or if they are not, is notice of no insurance posted conspicuously at the entry way of the facility. Typically more insurance means a more rule following culture.
- Do they strictly adhere to Chapter 591 and the rules governing daycare centers?
- Do they consistently report any incidents on their premises?
- What is their hiring protocol for running background checks of prospective employees?
- Whether they've had major violations in the past or ever had their license/accreditation ever suspended or revoked.
One great aspect of the Bright From the Start system is parents and the public can look up violation and license information on any licensed child care facility in Georgia on this link:
On this DECAL page you can obtain a wealth of public information on a facility including but not limited to: address, ownership data, locations, pre-K availability, but also license status, violation notices, and prior enforcement actions.
Any information NOT included in those pages might be obtained by completing an Open Records Request to Bright From the Start. Link:
Report a Safety Violation/Incident to Bright From the Start
If you are aware of a dangerous incident at a facility and you want to make sure the daycare is held accountable by DECAL you can make an anonymous complaint to the child care services department of Bright from the Start. DECAL will investigate any report concerning a licensing violation at a child care center, group day care, or a family child care home. To file a complaint, call 404-657-5562.
Was Your Child Injured or Killed at a Daycare Facility? You Need a Qualified Daycare Negligence Lawyer!
If your most precious gift in life was injured at a daycare facility in Georgia, call the daycare negligence lawyers in Atlanta for a totally free consultation at 404-618-0960. Sometimes there are freak accidents where nobody is at fault. We find that in most child injury cases, parents love the facility and the employees, and would never want to take legal action – we respect this and would likely feel the same way. The parents that call us are typically the result of egregious violations, abuse, carelessness, recklessness, and repeated safety violations that lead to the injury or death of a defenseless child. We often find that unless a parent takes legal action for daycare's negligence, nothing will ever change, and more children will get injured or killed. Call, email, or text Attorney James Paisley now at 404-618-0960 / [email protected].
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