You entrust your child to the care of another and hope the person will treat your kid well. Usually everything works out, but sometimes kids get hurt. It happens, and sometimes an accident is not anyone’s fault.
So you want to know what will happen if your kid is hurt when with a babysitter. Can you sue the sitter? The answer as it so often is in the law is yes, but it depends on the circumstances.
What Is Negligence?
Personal injury cases are based on negligence claims. The plaintiff argues that the defendant breached a duty of care, failing to act as a reasonable person would in same or similar circumstances. This breach, if proven, must be the cause of the plaintiff’s injury, meaning that no unforeseeable or intervening forces were to blame. If causation can be shown, the plaintiff goes on to prove an amount of damages due to compensate for the injury.
In a babysitting situation there is no doubt that a duty of care is owed. Your babysitter must behave like a reasonable person would behave in the same or similar circumstances. So whether a babysitter is liable will depend on their age, the circumstances, and the details of what happened.
Theoretically, you can sue for negligence if your child is injured by a babysitter. But whether a judge or jury will allow your claim to succeed depends. Was it reasonable to leave the child in the circumstances you did? Was the babysitter old enough to handle the situation?
People who babysit professionally often do get insurance so that they are covered in case of an emergency. But of course that applies to an adult doing this kind of work. Teens trying to make a little extra cash obviously don’t have insurance, which may be a factor in deciding who you choose to watch your child.
Ideally nothing will go wrong when you leave your kids with someone. But it’s worth your while to inquire into insurance coverage, and even to weigh whether to go with a pricier caregiver based on such a factor. Regardless of what you choose, you will only be able to successfully sue a babysitter if the person behaved negligently and you can prove all the elements of negligence.
Talk to a Lawyer
If your child has been hurt in the care of a babysitter or elsewhere, speak to a lawyer. Many injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your case.
- Injured in an accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury)
- Is It Legal to Leave Kids Home Alone? (FindLaw)
- Standard of Care and the Reasonable Person (FindLaw)