Legal Help for Victims of Child Abuse
Parents trust daycare workers‚ nannies‚ and teachers with the life and well-being of their children. While the vast majority of child care is provided by warm‚ loving individuals and groups that intend to be a healthy and safe haven for children‚ there are still instances when child abuse occurs in child care facilities.
Abuse takes many forms and can leave long-term emotional and psychological scars. If left unacknowledged, abuse by caretakers can have serious and lifelong effects, for instance, preventing victims from developing healthy relationships with others.
If you suspect your child suffered any form of abuse by an individual responsible for their care, contact the lawyers at the Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers at (619) 233-5020 or (888) 233-5020.
Physical Child Abuse
According to statistics gathered by DoSomething.org, more than four children die every day from abuse or neglect in the United States. Over 70% of them are below three years old.
There are four main types of child abuse: physical, emotional, neglect, and sexual.
Nearly six million children die each year from physical abuse. Physical child abuse is the intentional harm a caretaker inflicts on a child that results in injury. Typically, this type of abuse occurs during discipline or punishment. Specific forms of discipline, such as spanking, aren’t considered abuse as long as it doesn’t cause bodily injury to the child.
When someone physically abuses a child, they may participate in various acts, such as:
- Burning or scalding
- Shaking, throwing, hitting, biting
- Suffocating or drowning
- Non-consensual tickling
- Tying or restraining
- Pinching, slapping, or tripping
- Withholding sleep, food, water, or medication
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Frequent injuries or unexplained bruises‚ welts‚ or cuts
- Fear or anxiety towards an employee
- Change in normal behavior, such as becoming sad, angry, or withdrawn
- Pain, itching, or bleeding on areas of the body with no known cause
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Injuries appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt
- Shies away from touch‚ flinches at sudden movements‚ or seems afraid to go to daycare
Child Emotional Abuse
The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect defines emotional abuse as: “acts or omissions by the caregivers that have caused‚ or could cause‚ serious behavioral‚ cognitive‚ emotional‚ or mental disorders.”
Emotional and psychological abuse comes in different forms. Any pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s sense of self-worth or emotional development is a sign of emotional abuse.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
- Excessively withdrawn‚ fearful‚ or anxious about doing something wrong
- Shows extremes in behavior
- Doesn’t seem to be attached to caregiver
- Talking badly about themselves or lack of confidence
- Sudden changes in speech, such as stuttering
- Negative impact on grades in school
- Exhibiting emotionally immature behavior compared to other children their age
Child Neglect or Denial of Critical Care
Child neglect occurs when a caretaker refuses to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, emotional support, or any care necessary for the child’s health. This puts the child at risk of developing a medical issue.
Signs of Neglect
- Clothes are that are dirty or inappropriate for the weather.
- Being left alone or in the care of younger children
- Eating more than usual or saving food for later
- Inadequate medical attention for injuries
- Malnourished or dehydrated
- Frequent injuries caused by others or lack of supervision
Child Sexual Abuse
It’s a horrific thought that any child can become the victim of sexual abuse, especially when left in the care of someone you’re supposed to trust. There are rarely noticeable physical signs of sexual abuse, and most children don’t talk about what happened to them out of fear or shame.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Trouble walking or sitting.
- Displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his age
- Makes strong efforts to avoid a specific person‚ without an obvious reason
- Doesn’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities
- Scratching, pain, or soreness in the genital area
- Coming home with gifts or toys from the daycare
- Continually talking about a new older friend
- Blood-stained or torn garments
- Contraction of an STD
Daycare abuse is hard to detect‚ so you need to make sure that your suspicions are legitimate before you pursue legal action. If you suspect that a daycare worker has abused your child‚ talk to other parents whose children are in the same daycare to compare behaviors and observations. Learn how to recognize the signs and then you can work to prevent it from happening.
Contact the local child protective services agency‚ the department of human services for the state‚ city‚ or county or a local law enforcement officer.
You also need to hire an experienced child abuse lawyer from the Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers immediately to help you investigate.
When you hire us, we’ll open a complete investigation into your allegations of child abuse. It’s crucial to start collecting evidence early on in the case to ensure nothing gets lost or destroyed. Submitting proof that abuse occurred because of the daycare or employee is necessary to recover compensation. Examples of the evidence we’ll work on obtaining includes:
- Damaged or soiled clothing
- Photos of injuries
- Your child’s medical records
- Statements of people who witnessed the abuse
- Documentation from their school detailing changes in behavior, grades, or any unusual situations around the time the abuse occurred
- Information from other parents that noticed abuse of their children
We understand this is an upsetting ordeal, and you want to protect your child from additional harm. We’ll make sure your child gets transferred to a different daycare or school, and we will file a complaint immediately. If you’d like to notify your local sheriff’s office, so there’s a record of the abuse, that’s something you can do as well.
California law allows a parent to pursue various legal claims, depending on the circumstances and type of abuse that occurred.
- Personal injury claim based on negligence
- Breach of contract claim
- Breach of child care duty
- Criminal assault and battery
- Endangerment to a child civil claim
Many businesses, including daycare facilities, carry general liability insurance with bodily injury coverage. That provides compensation to victims of an accident or injury. If there’s substantial coverage available, you could file an insurance claim with the daycare’s liability carrier for compensation of any resulting expenses. It’s also possible to file a lawsuit against the daycare or the individual responsible for the abuse.
Damages Available in Childcare Abuse Cases
Whether you decide to file a claim or sue the responsible party, you can pursue financial compensation for your damages. Compensatory damages include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are actual expenses, such as medical bills, while non-economic damages are intangible losses like pain and suffering.
In the state of California, you’re entitled to recover compensation for the following compensatory damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income while caring for your child
- Out of pocket costs related to necessary medical care
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
The severity of injuries and the extent of the abuse will determine the financial award you receive. If you’re able to prove fault and show sufficient evidence that medical treatment was necessary, you could potentially win the maximum settlement available in an insurance claim.
If you want to file a lawsuit, you have to follow a strict deadline. When it comes to physical abuse, the statute of limitations is two years. That means you have two years from the date of your child’s injury to pursue legal action on their behalf within the court system. If the child is a minor, they can file a lawsuit up until they reach the age of 20.
There’s a more extended time limit when it comes to sexual abuse. Typically, an individual who was the victim of sexual abuse as a child can pursue a civil lawsuit until they reach 26 years of age.
Proving Fault in a San Diego Child Abuse Case
When pursuing compensation for a child abuse case based on negligence, you generally must prove the following elements:
- Duty of Care: In legal terms, this refers to the basic standard of reasonable care an individual should use in a certain situation to prevent harm. This will vary depending on the exact circumstances of your claim. For example, daycare centers owe a duty of care to their clients and the children under their supervision. This duty of care includes hiring qualified individuals to prevent children from being abused, and ensuring children are cared for in a safe environment.
- Breach of Duty: Once the duty of care is established, you must demonstrate that there was a clear breach of duty. Using the daycare example, a breach of duty might include failing to hire competent individuals, not conducting thorough background checks on employees, and overlooking abuse by staff.
- Causation: When proving causation, you must show that the defendant’s breach of duty of care directly caused your child’s injuries. In complex cases, you may need to hire a relevant expert to consult on these issues.
- Damages: Lastly, you must prove that your child sustained documentable harm as a result of the defendant’s negligent actions. Damages can be proven with photos of injuries, medical records, documents showing out-of-pocket expenses, and other documents proving losses.
How An Attorney Can Help with Your Child Abuse Claim
Proving fault in a child abuse case can be a complex process. And when you are dealing with the aftermath of child abuse, the stress alone can make it difficult to focus on the logistics of a lawsuit.
This is why hiring an attorney is essential to recovering the compensation you and your family deserve. An attorney can fully protect your rights while you focus on helping your child toward their path to recovery.
At Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers, our caring legal team can:
- Launch an Independent Investigation: An independent investigation is the foundation of any successful claim, especially for child abuse claims. There may be information or evidence concealed by negligent parties, and we will work tirelessly to prove their wrongdoing. We can also obtain important documents on your behalf and secure witnesses’ statements.
- Consult With Experts: Our law firm has access to vast legal resources, including a network of experts who can consult on complex issues of causation, liability, and damages. We can partner with experts to determine the full extent of your child’s injuries, and discover how the defendant was responsible for causing your child harm.
- Pursue the Highest Compensation: The effects of child abuse can last a lifetime and cause problems later in adulthood. This isn’t something we take lightly, and we will aggressively pursue the highest compensation that you and your family are entitled to.
In addition to the above, our law firm also offers a no-fee guarantee. We understand that the cost of legal representation is one of the biggest hurdles families face when taking legal action after child abuse. If we don’t recover compensation on your behalf, you won’t have to pay a dime.
Contact an Attorney in San Diego at Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers
A San Diego child injury attorney can inform you of your rights and legal options. We understand that abused children have long-term physical‚ psychological‚ behavioral‚ and societal effects and that the healing process is slow and gradual. It’s a devastating experience to go through, and we want to resolve your case promptly.
We have the skills and knowledge to seek the justice your child deserves and recover the maximum compensation available. Our child abuse lawyers will fight hard for you to ensure you get the financial award you’re entitled to.
We understand the negative impact this had on both you and your child. Your child suffered physical pain and emotional trauma.
You don’t have to go through this alone. We will be by your side during every step of the legal process. Our team is available 24/7 to answer your questions and update you on the status of your case. We offer a free case review for anyone interested in learning how we can help.
If you suspect a child is being abused by a person responsible for ensuring their safety and well-being‚ call the lawyers at the Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers at (619) 233-5020 or (888) 233-5020.