Should You Pay for Day Care After Their Dog Bites Your Child? No!

Kids get bitten by dogs in day care. I have gently asked whether it is folly or fair to bring a dog to into a day care center, have stated it is negligent to allow a pit bull into a day care center, and have also stated that allowing any dog into a day care center is negligent.

One of the worst aspects of this problem has to do with insurance coverage for day cares. Homeowner policies often exclude coverage for accidents that occur during the course of any business carried on in the home, which includes a day care (for payment). No only is homeowner coverage lacking, but many states have neglected to require day care centers to have any liability coverage at all. 

Today a single mom wrote to me about getting sued by a day care where a dog bite her child. Not only that, but the day care did not tell the mom; she had to find out on her own. Here is her question to me, and my reply (certain changes have been made to ensure anonymity):

TO MR PHILLIPS

Hi my daughter was bit by a dog at her daycare and the daycare provider did not tell me about it. my daughter whos 3 told me on a monday night because the cut hurt her from the bite. I told the day care provider I was going to find another day care for both of my kids. I found 2 new daycares for both of my kids. I didn’t want to continue taking them back to her it was uncomfortable and worrysome for me. Now she is saying she is going to sue me for the full amount I had agreed to pay her for the days that my kids are not even going to be there because of being in the new daycare. Can you tell me what the law is?

REPLY BY MR PHILLIPS

I’m sorry to hear about this. Here are the general principles of law that are followed in USA, the UK and Australia (I don’t know where you are writing from).

One does not have to perform a contractual agreement when there has been a “material breach of contract.” In a day care center, the safety of children is a “material” term of the contract. “Material” means “essential.”

In my view, there were two material breaches of contract here: first, the bite, and second, the cover-up. Therefore, if I were the small claims court judge, I would rule in your favor.

That is all I can tell you. I can’t predict what actually would happen if you did not pay. Nor can I advise you one way or another, because I simply don’t know what the outcome will be in your jurisdiction. I just know what it SHOULD be.