Negligent Supervision Claims

Claims of negligent supervision most often arise in personal injury cases involving injuries to children or elderly persons.

When you trust someone to supervise your child or elderly family member, there is always a risk that something will go wrong, causing harm to your loved one. The law provides a remedy for injuries that occur in this scenario: someone who has a legal obligation to supervise others fails to do so responsibly. The legal remedy is known as a claim for negligent supervision. The most common types of negligent supervision are negligent supervision of children, negligent supervision of the elderly, and negligent supervision of employees. The greatest numbers of negligent supervision cases involve injuries to children.

Negligent Supervision of Children

There are two types of cases involving negligent supervision of children. First, you can sue if your child was hurt because of the inattention of a caregiver. Second, you can sue if you, your child, or your property was injured when other people failed to supervise a child. Negligent supervision of children can happen at a school, a daycare, a camp, a church, or a private home. People and organizations that could be held responsible for failing to properly supervise a child include:

  • teachers
  • coaches
  • daycare providers
  • babysitters
  • church youth group leaders
  • camp counselors
  • foster parents
  • nannies, and
  • parents.

Common examples of negligent supervision of children are:

  • injuries due to a daycare not having enough staff to properly monitor all children on the premises
  • caregivers failing to protect children from the dangers of traffic, train tracks, pools, animals, or other dangers in the environment
  • parents allowing teens to use harmful drugs at unsupervised parties
  • a child ingesting toxic chemicals left out on a counter
  • children playing with matches and starting a house fire
  • an accidental shooting after a child finds an unsecured gun
  • a coach permitting a student to vandalize property
  • foster parents neglecting the child in their care
  • a parent allowing a young child to drive a car, and
  • a daycare failing to monitor a violent child who injures another child.

Negligent Supervision of the Elderly

Just as someone with the responsibility to monitor children may be sued if a child is injured because of inattentiveness, someone entrusted with supervising elderly persons also may be sued for negligent supervision. Negligent supervision of the elderly occurs most often in nursing homes.

Some common examples of negligent supervision of the elderly are:

  • infections or sores due to a lack of basic hygiene care
  • failing to prevent dementia patients from wandering off the premises
  • falls and injuries because of a lack of supervision for fall-risk patients
  • choking because of inappropriately-sized food, and
  • ignoring financial or physical abuse.

Negligent Supervision of Employees

When an employer does not take steps to ensure that its employees obey company policies, a case for negligent supervision may arise. In certain situations, company supervisors may be held responsible not only for their own wrongful behavior but also for the bad behavior of their employees.

Common examples of negligent supervision of employees include:

  • permitting one employee to sexually harass another employee
  • ignoring violence and threats in the workplace
  • failing to provide training and supervision when equipping employees with dangerous tools, weapons, or chemicals
  • allowing an employee accused of molestation to be alone with children
  • allowing intoxicated employees to operate machinery, and
  • failing to monitor an employee working from a home or a satellite office who conducts scams.

Elements Common to Negligent Supervision Cases

Whether your family has suffered harm from someone’s negligent supervision of children, the elderly, or employees, there are certain elements that all negligent supervision cases share.

First, the defendant must have had some responsibility to monitor the child, elderly person, or employee in question. Second, the defendant must have failed to properly supervise that person. Third, the person must have suffered damages because of the caretaker or employer’s inattention or carelessness. Fourth, the injury due to the supervisor’s negligence must have been foreseeable. This simply means that a reasonable person might have anticipated the injury occurring in that situation. If all these elements are met, you have the basis for a negligent supervision claim.

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