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Daycare Liability Waivers

KidsEvery day, parents entrust daycare centers with the care of their children and rely on the daycare providers to protect their children from harm. Most children are safe and well cared for, but sometimes a daycare’s negligence allows a child to suffer harm. Parents whose children are harmed in daycare accidents may wish to pursue legal action against a negligent daycare provider. One issue they may need to consider is the validity of waivers of liability.

Before taking on the care of a child, most daycares will require the child’s parents to sign a waiver of liability. Most such waivers claim to release the daycare from liability for injuries resulting from its negligence, and allow the daycare to consent to medical treatment for the child.

Medical Waivers

Generally, provisions authorizing the daycare to permit medical treatment for the child are enforceable. Most of these provisions allow the daycare to allow a child to receive medical care in the event of an injury, if the child’s parent cannot be reached immediately, and if a delay in treatment would endanger the child’s well-being. These provisions are valid because it is in the child’s best interest for the daycare to make sure that proper medical care is obtained as soon as possible.

Negligence Waivers

Often, daycare liability releases will also include a provision releasing the daycare center from responsibility for any harm resulting from the daycare’s or an employee’s negligence. If a daycare allows a child to come to harm while caring for the child, the daycare may be liable under a theory of negligent supervision if it was not making proper efforts to protect the child’s safety. The waiver provisions purport to release the daycare from liability for the child’s injuries and other harms resulting from the accident.

These waiver provisions are not enforceable, because they are against public policy. California courts have held that it is bad policy to permit parents to sign away their children’s rights to compensation before an injury even occurs. Enforcing these waivers would allow daycare centers to act negligently, knowing that they would not be held liable for their negligence.

Further, it is the child who is hurt, not the parent, and the child has a right to sue for relief, independent from his or her parents. It would not be in the child’s best interest to allow a parent sign away the child’s right to sue. Children may sue a negligent daycare on their own at age 18, for harms suffered while a minor. They then have two years to file a personal injury claim.

Daycares know that their releases are generally ineffective against negligence claims, but they may try to use the waivers to persuade parents not to sue. It is important to know your and your child’s rights if your child has been injured because of someone else’s negligence. Please contact the dedicated San Jose personal injury attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. for a free initial consultation.

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