Who Can Be Held Liable For Child Abuse In New York

May 9, 2014

One of the most underused and little known laws in New York is the one that requires certain professionals to report suspected child abuse or maltreatment to the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment. The New York Social Services laws create civil liability for various categories of professionals who fail to adequately investigate reports of child abuse or neglect. Among the types of professionals who are covered by the law are teachers, police officers, child protective services personnel and doctors, who are often called mandatory reporters. When a mandatory reporter fails to report child abuse or fails to take adequate steps to investigate the abuse, when there is reason to suspect that abuse or neglect has occurred, they can be held civilly liable for the injuries and abuse suffered by the child.

Our New York personal injury lawyers are among the few lawyers in New York that have experience in handling these types of cases and from our Manhattan and Queens offices, we can handle abuse cases against the City of New York or its departments. Likewise our White Plains injury attorneys can handle these types of cases in Westchester and Rockland.

These cases are among the most unfortunate and heart breaking cases imaginable. Our attorneys have seen and heard it all. Often these cases arise in homes which are going through a divorce and one parent is abusing the child. In especially contested divorces, child protective services calls are not uncommon. Unfortunately all too often, home visits are not done and high case loads lead to shotty investigations that all too often miss serious cases of abuse. When abuse is overlooked, the innocent child pays the price. Our attorneys are well aware that child abuse is never the child's fault. Other cases where abuse is overlooked too often is where doctors, teachers and school nurses see evidence of abuse and look the other way. All too often children even die horrible deaths or undergo unspeakable sexual abuse because the professionals who are supposed to protect the child look the other way.

It is important to remember where a municipal entity, such as a town or county or even a public school or public hospital is the potential defendant, a notice of claim must be filed within 90 days of the neglect. However, the abuse and neglect is not often discovered until well past that time. However, since the statute of limitations is tolled until a child reaches eighteen years of age, a motion for late permission to file a notice of claim can be brought to the New York Supreme Court. Often the abuse itself and the fear caused by the abuse is a reasonable excuse for failing to timely file the notice of claim.

If your child was a victim of abuse which went overlooked, our attorneys will provide a free consultation. From our Westchester, Manhattan and Queens offices, our lawyers can handle injury and death cases anywhere in the New York metropolitan area.