Every parent wants their child to have fun and be safe. Unfortunately, this isn't always possible. It is a sad but true fact of life that accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. With the way children love to climb and play, furniture related accidents are more common than people realize.
All parents should take preventive measures to decrease the chances of this happening, but being prepared for the aftermath can be just as important. Knowing who is liable for an accident and what steps to take can save you stress and money. If you have children, be aware of the following scenarios and how to handle them.
Accidents at Daycare
Most daycare centers require parents to sign a waiver of liability form which usually contains language pertaining to emergency medical treatment for an injured child. The form lets the daycare seek medical attention for a child without a parent's consent while remaining immune to a lawsuit.
Traditionally courts have stated that you cannot sign away your child's compensation rights before an injury occurs, essentially making the liability form a bluff. Daycares have a legal obligation to protect the children in their care which means ensuring that dressers don't fall over due to a faulty leg and chairs don't buckle because of loose screws.
Accidents at a Residence
Business owners are responsible for maintaining safe conditions at all times which includes the occasional inspection of the furniture. Any defense claiming that no one knew a piece of furniture was broken is not valid.
At a friend's house, your child is considered a "Licensee". While still responsible for providing a safe environment, another parent is generally free from liability if you and your child have been warned of dangerous conditions. Be familiar with any home your child is visiting and take necessary precautions.
Accidents at Your Residence
The worst case scenario is that a child is injured on your watch. After making sure that the child is alright and providing any necessary care, take a look at the piece of furniture in question. If it has been kept in good condition but the child was using it in a way that it wasn't meant to be used, you may be off the hook if you can gather enough evidence to support your claim.
These scenarios may vary depending on your location so be sure to check your state's personal injury laws. Talk to a lawyer, such as Law Offices of Stein & Rosenberg, when in doubt.
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