Legal News & Updates

How to report a daycare accident in Georgia?

Over the past few weeks, we have received a number of questions about daycare accidents because it’s one of our specialized areas of practice. One of the first questions we get after a daycare accident in Georgia is — How do we report it? It’s a great question because parents are understandably concerned about the next steps after a daycare injury, and it’s an especially hard time because parents also need to take a good bit of time to make sure that their child is getting medical treatment (and probably looking for another daycare too).

We are here to help, and let’s walk through it together:

First things first, it’s important to know exactly who is in charge of reporting and investigating a daycare injury. The daycare is responsible for informing Bright from the Start, which is the state agency tasked with monitoring daycares in Georgia, about it right away. But, yes, you probably guessed — It doesn’t always happen.

So what should you do? Where do you go to do it?

You may instinctually want to ask the daycare to investigate it, but again, it can be a bit awkward, especially considering that your child was just hurt at that very daycare. There’s an easier approach though — Get in touch with Bright from the Start. There is actually a division that handles complaints and investigates daycare injuries in Georgia.

Now, you are probably wondering “How do I find it?”

You’ll want to go to the Contact Us — Child Care Services for Bright from the Start. (FYI — We’ve imbedded the link for you.)

Ok, so now you are there, and you’re probably seeing a lot of contacts:

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So where to next…?

If you look over three tabs — 2MLK, next ASU, and then you’ll see Complaint. CLICK ON IT. It will take you to this screen:

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You really have two options — You can call the CCS complaint number or send them an e-mail. Both are great ways to report the incident — The investigators are professional, courteous, and great at their job!

Do try to make their life easy as there are unfortunately a number of investigations, complaints, etc. during any given day for daycare injuries in Georgia. A quick couple of pointers:

(1) Have the name, address, and contact for the daycare available for them when you call to report the incident.

(2) Be prepared to give a statement to the investigators so you’ll want to have a chronology ready for them with names of employees (if you know them), as well as steps you took after you found out about the incident, such as when you picked up your child, where your child was treated, etc. Details are very important!!!

(3) Remember: One call, that’s all 😉

We completely understand that it’s a stressful time for you and your family. Multiple calls about the status seem helpful at first glance because it shows you care, but it actually slows down the process because it will take time away from the investigative process. Sure, there are times when you may need to follow-up, but do try to limit the calls to new, pertinent information about the incident, like a companion police investigation.

We hope you found this information helpful about daycare investigations in Georgia. As a parent, I truly understand the headache when you learn that your child has been hurt in a daycare accident. Feel free to give me a call if you have any questions about this process — We’re here to help. My number is (404) 566-8964 and can be reached at Kevin@patricktriallaw.com. Thanks for reading our blog!!

Congratulations to Jacqueline Boatwright-Daus!!!

We want to extend a special congratulations to Mrs. Georgia International Jacqueline Boatwright-Daus. She was recently invited to the Pentagon to speak with senior members about the continued importance of daycare safety and the need for improved regulations.

As many of you know, Jaimg_3462ckie is known as the woman who single handedly changed the face of child day care in Georgia through her advocacy which resulted in the passage of Juan’s Law in 2004 named in honor of her late son who died as a result of injuries sustained at his state licensed child care center. Her tenacious fight for change was again victorious in the state of Virginia who also passed Juan’s Law in 2006. She took her fight to the United States Capitol and gained another success for her cause with the passagimg_3463e of The Anthony DeJuan Boatwright Act in 2009.

Jackie is truly carrying on the legacy of   beautiful son Juan. A tragic situation at a daycare, like the one that happened to Jackie’s son, should never have to happen again! We all can cary on Juan’s legacy by continuing to reach out to local and national officials to make sure that the topic of daycare negligence stays on their agendas each and every leadership session. At the very core, the safety and well-being of our children is cause that should unify all members of legislative body in Georgia and our county.

For more information on daycare negligence or ways to become involved in helping with our efforts to improve the standard of care in daycares across Georgia and the country, please contact us at (404) 566-8964 or kevin@patricktriallaw.com. We are one of the few firms in Georgia with a practice specifically focusing on daycare negligence. You can also visit Jackie’s website for more details on becoming involved in this noble and wonderful cause. Together we can truly make positive changes in our community and, most importantly, prevent daycare negligence.

Valuation and Settlement Strategies for Day Care Negligence Cases

Daycare negligence cases present novel issues relating to valuation and settlement because the emotional and psychological damages can be difficult to quantify. Medical bills do not always accompany those damages. Furthermore, children may be unable to articulate the problems caused by an abusive situation at a daycare facility until they are more mature. By that point, the statute of limitations may have expired for certain claims.

The facility and insurance carrier usually attempt to downplay the value of case by harping on modest medical expenses, but there are other types of damages in these situations. For example, the increased costs of childcare can be multiplied over the course of several years, and parents have a right to be reimbursed for their time away from work for doctor’s appointments. A common approach for the facility and insurance carrier in calculating the total settlement offer is to simply multiply the special damages by a factor of one or two. The plaintiffs can combat this approach with dialogue along these lines: “We can all agree that this case isn’t just another soft tissue car accident case, right?” Emotional value carries a premium.

One way to maximize the ultimate value of a case is through a structured annuity settlement. An annuity is a contractual agreement with a financial institution designed to turn a lump sum settlement into periodic payouts over time. The gross payouts from an annuity has the potential to exceed the settlement amount itself. Whether this is a good option in any particular case will depend on the unique financial situation of the child’s family. A structured annuity settlement, if untouched, may help the family pay for higher education.

O.C.G.A. § 29-3-3 governs the settlement of minor’s claims. This statute is complex, but as a general rule of thumb, a parent or natural guardian is permitted to settle a minor’s claim without becoming the conservator or seeking approval from the court when the gross amount is less than Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.) From a practical perspective, a settlement for small claims right below this threshold helps to avoid protracted litigation and possible attorney’s fees.

Treating a child’s case as a ‘run of the mill’ accident violates everyone’s fundamental sense of right and wrong. As trial lawyers, we hold the keys to helping secure a brighter future for injured children and their families.

Juan’s Law: Saving Georgia’s Day Care Children

Given our firm’s focus on daycare negligence, we were delighted to meet Mrs. Jacqueline Boatwright-Daus, who as Mrs. Georgia International 2016, is championing the prevention of daycare injuries. She graciously put together an article for lawyers in the state of Georgia about her son’s story:

Fact Finding

After weeks of searching, I’d finally found the child care center for my 3 month old son. It was perfect; clean, small, and close to home. I spent two or more hours quizzing the center owner from my prepared list of questions. My eyes fixated on the owner’s body language, waiting for her to blink, or show any form of nervousness with each asked question, a fixation so strong that it was only broken when she dropped her pen and bent down retrieve it, revealing what sealed the deal; her state issued licensed. Twelve months later, that license would deem worthless in my opinion. My then 14 month old son was found head first in an unattended bucket of mop water containing bleach and other chemical at his state licensed child day care center leaving him semi-comatose and ventilator dependent. For next 10 years, our lives were emotionally, physically, and financially broken. His name was Anthony DeJuan Boatwright affectionally known as “Juan.”

Failure and Fault

To add insult to my son’s injury, I would find out that the state of Georgia does not require state licensed child care centers to carry any form of liability insurance nor to inform unsuspecting parents. This had to be one of, it not the greatest oversights in the history of law making. My plumber was licensed, insured, and bonded, so was the contractor that did work on my home. In fact, I had to have liability insurance on my car, my house, and the lovely pool in my back yard. Truth be told, I felt I’d failed my son; but I knew in my heart my state and the child care center failed my son and me by not sharing information that could have possibly impacted my decision in choosing a child care center. In the midst of being broke, busted, and borderline disgusted, I knew that my son’s life had to mean something. The world never got to know the little boy whose only clear articulated words were “thank you.” He never made it out of daycare.

Fight or Flight

After nearly losing everything I’d worked so hard to obtain, I chose to spend the rest of my life fighting for the children who were presently attending child care and those who were yet to come. I won my first battle in 2004 when then Governor Perdue signed Juan’s Law, requiring child care centers in Georgia to inform parents of their insurance status by posting if they were uninsured and by getting parents to sign an affidavit stating the parents were aware that they were leaving their child with an uninsured, although state licensed, child care center. My second battle was won in 2006 when then Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia signed Juan’s Law. Persuading the federal government of their involvement resulted in the US House passing The Anthony DeJuan Boatwright Act in 2007 and again in 2009. Should this pass out of the Senate, this would cover the nearly 40 other states that do not require child day care centers to carry liability insurance and I know save millions of lives of children around our country.

In sum, the efforts made by Mrs. Boatwright-Daus continue to help our children in day care facilities, but we must continue to press these issues in order to carry on the legacy of Juan.