Accident in a Public Place*

Childcare Facility Accident Claims*

If your child has sustained an injury as a result of an accident in a childcare facility or creche you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation on their behalf.

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Involved in a Childcare Facility Accident?

When people bring their child to a childcare facility, creche or nursery, they expect the highest level of care towards their children, from how the staff interact with the children to staff to child ratios at the creche. An accident in a childcare facility that causes injury to a child is treated a little differently to an accident involving an adult. A minor cannot make a claim themselves until they reach the age of 18, however, a parent or guardian of a child (known as the ‘next friend’) can pursue a claim on their behalf.

What is a ‘Next Friend’?

With claims made for a child under the age of 18, a parent or guardian may stand in to represent them because a minor cannot make a claim themselves. The individual who steps in to represent them is known as the ‘next friend’. All information regarding the child and their claim is then passed through this person. Prior to making a claim for them, it is important that the child has received medical attention as the health and well-being of the child is the number one priority in this process.

Who is Liable?

An important first step in the personal injuries claims process is determining who is liable for the injuries which have been sustained by the child. In cases where an accident occurred because of the actions/inactions of the staff then the staff of the nursery or childcare facility may be held liable. They may have acted in a negligent manner which then led to the accident. All employees should ensure the health and safety of the children in their care at all times. They have a responsibility to do so and should follow all health and safety regulations which are in place as this will help to prevent accidents from occurring.

It is important to note that if another child has contributed to the cause of any injuries sustained that it can be quite difficult to determine who is at fault.

Employees in a childcare facility or creche have certain responsibilities and guidelines which must be followed at all times. These guidelines include:

  • All employees should be fully trained and qualified.
  • There should be health and safety regulations in place.
  • At least one member of staff should be first aid trained.
  • A report of any accidents that occur should be kept in the record book.
  • There should be at least the minimum number of child care workers to the number of children.

Adult to Child Ratios

There are strict regulations in place in regards to the number of responsible adults who should be caring for a group of children. This number will vary on the amount of time in which the children will need care. If these ratios are not maintained the chance of an accident occurring increases.

These ratios are set out as follows:

Full-time and Part-time Hours

Full time hours (5+ hours per day) and part-time hours (3.5 – 5 hours per day) ratios are as follows:

  • 0 – 1 Years: 1 Adult to 3 Children
  • 1 – 2 Years: 1 Adult to 5 Children
  • 2 – 3 Years: 1 Adult to 6 Children
  • 3 – 6 Years: 1 Adult to 8 Children

Sessional Services

Sessional services (up to 3.5 hours per day) ratios are as follows:

  • 0 – 1 Years: 1 Adult to 3 Children
  • 1 – 2.5 Years: 1 Adult to 5 Children
  • 2.5 – 6 Years: 1 Adult to 11 Children

Common Childcare Accident Injuries

Having your child involved in a childcare accident can be a traumatic experience, especially if your child has suffered any personal injuries. The most common injury claims that can occur after a childcare accident are:

Common Causes of Childcare Accidents*

The below list outlines common causes of childcare accidents:

Defective Toys

Injuries caused by defective or unsafe toys can be quite common. These toys can cause a number of injuries from cuts and bruises to becoming a choking hazard for the child. It is often the cases that these toys have become defective as a result of an error made during the manufacturing process. It is important that any of these toys are kept away from children if an employee notices an issue with them. If your child has been injured by a defective toy you should take note of the details relating to the toy. This includes the name, packaging and details of the defect which caused the injury to your child.

Lack of Supervision

When it comes to the care of children it is very important that there is adequate supervision at all times. There should be the correct ratio of adults to children as this can help to prevent accidents and injuries. There should be supervision at all times throughout the day and especially during sport and play activities where the children will be most active.

Faulty and Defective Furniture

Faulty furniture includes any chairs, desks or outdoor play equipment which is faulty or defective in some way. Faulty furniture should be disposed of so that no injuries are sustained as a result. It is important that employees check all furniture and equipment on a regular basis and any damaged furniture should be repaired or replaced in a timely manner.

Poor Food Preparation

In some childcare facilities and nurseries, employees prepare food for the children. If this food is prepared in an unsafe manner or in an unhygienic way, children could become ill as a result of food poisoning. This is a common illness which is caused by eating contaminated foods. It can have serious consequences for both adults and children as it weakens the general health of a person, especially if symptoms persist.

Spillages and Wet Floors

There should be procedures in place to deal with the cleaning of wet floors and spillages. They should be cleaned up in a timely manner so as to avoid accidents and injuries to both children and employees. Warning and wet floor signs should be avoided as children may not understand what this means.

What do I do if my child is involved in a childcare facility accident?

Following a childcare accident, there are a number of steps you should follow:

  1. Ensure your child receives medical attention

    Once you look after your child’s medical needs, you should obtain an accident report form from the childcare facility.

  2. Document the details of the accident

    Collecting the following information about the accident is very important:

    • The location of the accident where your child was injured.
    • Obtain the contact details of any witnesses to the accident.
    • Find out as many details as you can about how the accident happened.
    • Obtain an accident report form
    • Take photographs and request and obtain CCTV footage of the area.
    • Obtain the details of any Garda who may have attended the scene of the accident.
    • Request details of any Tusla reports and a copy of the same.
  3. Speak to a personal injury solicitor

    All personal injury cases involving a minor must be ruled in front of a Judge. This means that even if a case is settled by an insurance company or a case is assessed by the Injuries Board then a Judge must approve the amount of that settlement. Monies awarded in personal injury claims involving children are lodged in court at the successful conclusion of the case and are available to the child once they reach the age of majority (18).

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How do I make a claim?

Once you have gathered most of the relevant information in relation to your child’s injury, it is then time to move forward with your claim. It is important to use a personal injury solicitor to help you with this.

  1. Prepare information for a solicitor

    When you decide you want to move forward with your child’s childcare accident claim it is important to have as much of the relevant information to hand as possible when contacting a solicitor. Some of the important information to have on hand at this point is:

    • Date of the accident
    • Location of the accident
    • Details of who/what caused the accident
    • Specifics of what happened
    • Who did you report the accident to?
    • Is there CCTV that may have captured the accident?
    • Details of injuries
    • Details of hospital or GP attended
    • Any pictures you may have taken of the scene of the accident and/or your child’s injuries
  2. Solicitor becomes your trusted advisor

    As a solicitor is aware of the claims process they can avoid any legal bumps in the road you might encounter if you looked after this matter yourself. It is their job to be your trusted advisor on all legal matters throughout your case.

  3. Solicitor obtains a medical report

    One of the most important documents in your case is a medical report. Your solicitor will ask for your doctor’s or hospital details so they can obtain a report on your injuries. This report will then be used to allow us to progress your case.

  4. Solicitor prepares the Injuries Board application

    As soon as your solicitor has gathered all the information, your accident claim will be submitted to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board for assessment. Your solicitor will do this for you. Once the Injuries Board assess your claim, they will revert with a suggested settlement amount to your solicitor. At this stage, you have a choice to accept the Injuries Board assessment or reject it and move to the next steps.

    At this point one of two scenarios will unfold:

    a. If both you and the other party accept the Injuries Board assessment, your case is settled and the person at fault will be ordered to pay settlement to you.

    b. If either you or the other party reject the Injuries Board assessment, then you move to the next stage and your solicitor will issue legal proceedings.

  5. Possible case outcomes

    Before you start to concern yourself with court and everything that comes with it, it’s important to understand that only a very small percentage of cases actually make it to a courtroom for hearing.

    Settlement meetings will be arranged where a settlement can be negotiated. Most cases are settled at this point prior to a court hearing date without you ever and remember it’s your solicitor’s job to be with you every step of the way, right beside you to ensure that your best interests are met at all stages. Your solicitor is to be your trusted advisor throughout the process and to let you focus on your child’s recovery, as they focus on settling your child’s case. Any settlement amount will need to be approved by a Judge as your child is a minor or alternatively make some recommendations.

At Tracey Solicitors LLP, we make law accessible to all – regardless of your knowledge or experience with the claims process. For more information and a confidential discussion on your child’s childcare accident, phone 01 649 9900 or email to tell us about your case, where you can speak with a member of our team straight away.

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Case Settlement

If you are to proceed with a childcare accident claim you may be entitled to claim compensation for the accident and added expenses you may have incurred. These claims are called damages.

General Damages

General damages are non-financial damages such as pain and suffering and/or physical and emotional injuries sustained by your child following a childcare accident.

Special Damages

Special damages are out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the childcare accident, for example, medical bills, and added travel costs as a result of the accident (for example, travel to and from the hospital incurred by you as a result of your child’s accident). Learn more about Special Damages.

What are the Legal Time Limits?

If a child under the age of 18 is injured in an accident their circumstances are treated a little differently than an accident involving an adult. A minor can bring an injury claim if a parent or guardian does so on their behalf. This is referred to as acting as the minor’s ‘next friend’. It is advisable to bring a claim forward as soon as possible in order to source reliable evidence to strengthen your child’s case.

While technically, a claim may be brought within two years less one day of a child reaching the age of 18, it is extremely inadvisable to do so as the case may be unsuccessful due to the delay.

Learn more about Legal Time Limits

About Tracey Solicitors LLP

We draw on more than 35 years of experience in personal injury law to provide you with expert advice and legal services.

We’re here to help you with your claim, and will work with you to ensure you understand every step of your legal journey.

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