Child Abuse / Child Molestation
Abuse and molestation of children are serious crimes. In addition to helping prove criminal charges against an abuser, victims of day care abuse may pursue damages in a civil suit against the day care. The San Antonio child abuse lawyers of The J. Guerra Law Firm are experienced advocates for children. If your child was abused or molested at a day care, we can help explain your legal options.Hold Negligent Texas Day Cares Accountable
According to the nonprofit organization Prevent Child Abuse Texas, just under six percent of all child abuse cases occur outside of the home, including at day cares. In Texas, many professionals, such as day care employees, nurses, and doctors, are obligated by § 261.101 of the Family Code to report child abuse within 48 hours of first suspecting abuse. Failure to report could result in criminal and civil liability.
Through his parents, a child who has been abused or molested at a day care may be able to bring a negligence lawsuit against several defendants. The child abuser, in addition to being subject to jail time and criminal fines, may face civil liability. If this person worked for a day care, the child may bring suit against the day care itself for negligent hiring, neglect, or failure to report the abuse, depending on the circumstances.
A successful negligence suit must show that the defendant day care owed a duty to the child, that the day care breached the duty, and that the child’s injuries were caused by the day care’s actions or failure to act.
Day cares owe children a duty to use reasonable care. This means that they must perform legally mandated background checks before hiring employees. Failing to do so may be considered a breach of this duty and constitute negligent hiring. Day cares must also report abuse in accordance with Texas law or face criminal charges and civil liability, since this is also a failure to use reasonable care.
To prove causation against a day care, the victim must show that the day care’s actions substantially contributed to the injuries. In an abuse case, the abuser’s actions were the direct cause of the child’s injuries, but the day care may have substantially contributed if the evidence shows that, for example, a proper background check would have prevented the abuser from working at the day care. Proving causation can be complicated, so ask an experienced attorney if you have questions.
Successful negligence plaintiffs may be entitled to damages that are intended to compensate for financial, emotional, and physical injuries caused by defendants. These injuries include medical expenses, therapy bills, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. In cases of extreme negligence, some defendants also may be liable for punitive damages. To get compensation, however, a plaintiff must make sure to file a negligence claim within the time frame provided by the statute of limitations. Consult an attorney as soon as possible so that the period to protect your rights does not expire.Seek Guidance from a Houston Child Abuse Lawyer
Child abusers should be held accountable to the full extent of Texas law. If your child has been abused or molested at a day care, you can file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your child’s injuries. Houston child injury attorney Jesse E. Guerra Jr. of The J. Guerra Law Firm has experience helping abuse victims from Waco, Temple, McAllen, and throughout Texas. To see how we can help you, call 877.903.8323 or fill out the form on our contact page.