Weeks after three-year old Myles Hill’s body was found in the back of a daycare van in Orlando, another child’s death is blamed on being left in a hot vehicle while under daycare supervision. Last week in Alabama, the body of five-year-old Kamden Johnson was found in a van belonging to the Community Nursery & Preschool.
The child’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the daycare and its owners, Carl and Angela Coker, claiming that they were negligent in screening and hiring Valarie Rena Patterson, the employee responsible for leaving Johnson in the van on a 93-degree day. According to the lawsuit, Patterson has an extensive criminal record dating back to 1991.
In addition to the civil lawsuit, Patterson is facing manslaughter charges for her role in Johnson’s death. After finding the child’s body in the hot van, Patterson dumped him “on the side of Demotroplis Road,” according to court documents. Along with manslaughter charges, Patterson is also facing charges for abuse of a corpse.
Unfortunately, daycare negligence is surprisingly common. This summer alone, at least three children have died after being left in hot daycare vans. In addition to the two cases above, the body of a five-year old Arkansas boy was discovered in a similar scenario in June. And these are just the worst of the worst. Non-fatal daycare injuries occur due to negligence every day. A MA daycare negligence lawyer can help you recover damages if your child has been injured due to another’s negligence.
The Importance of Background Checks
A simple background check may have protected the daycare and its owners, at least to some extent. It would have almost certainly saved the life of five-year old Kamden Johnson. According to law enforcement, Mobile County jail records reveal Patterson’s extensive arrest history, including multiple theft charges and charges for failure to appear in court and driving without a license in the early 90s. She was also charged as a fugitive from justice in 1999 and for using the alias of Valarie Hardy during that arrest. Patterson was arrested a third time in 2007 on another fugitive from justice charge. A Boston wrongful death attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve lost a loved one due to another’s negligence.
Possible Signs of Daycare Negligence
Although the below signs can be due to factors other than negligence, you may want to investigate further if one or more of these signs is present, or if they persist. Common signs of daycare negligence include:
- Unexplained scratches, wounds, or bruises
- A child who appears withdrawn or depressed
- A chid who is extremely hungry or thirsty when picked up from daycare
- Frequent altercations or fights with other children at the facility
- A child who is found outside of the facility
If you are concerned about daycare negligence, do your homework. Talk to the daycare about its hiring and screening procedures. Pay attention to your child’s mood at drop off and pick up. Assess whether staff appear happy and seem to enjoy their job. Drop in unannounced. And lastly, if something just doesn’t feel right, remove your child from the center. When it comes to our children, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Personal Injury Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been injured due to another’s negligence, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims for more than 50 years. Our experienced, compassionate attorneys understand the sensitive nature of injury cases involving young children. We will ensure that you fully understand your rights and options before moving forward and will remain by your side throughout the entire process. It is our goal to get you the compensation you deserve so that you can move on with your life. Don’t go through this difficult time alone. If you’ve been injured, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.