How Much is a Foster Care Lawsuit Worth?
We Fight for Kids When Foster Care Fails Them!
Millions of children are in foster care around the world. Tens of thousands enter each year. When they do, they expect safe passage. They’re often coming from a turbulent place. Each kid hopes the next bed will be a bit calmer. Yet, sometimes they’re just trading one storm for another.
We help kids get out of these situations. Our firm puts the hammer on companies that negligently place or monitor them. If the child runs into abuse, it’s their fault too. And you can sue them! Many people don’t know that. Yet, you should keep it in mind. A lot of compensation could be available from this lawsuit. That’d help repay the costs and right the wrongs. Now, we’ll review how and what you can get if you sue for foster abuse.
- Why Would You Need to Sue a Foster Agency?
- Building Your Case for Child Abuse
- So How Much is a Foster Child Abuse Case Worth?
- Foster Care Abuse Verdicts
- Attorneys That Fight for Foster Kids!
Why Would You Need to Sue a Foster Agency?
It’s not something we like to think about. When the unfortunate happens, this means we’re less prepared than we could have been. Child abuse is a delicate but important subject. You should think about how it might occur. That’ll make you prepared if it does. As we noted above, foster children encounter a lot of abuse.
It arises from many different sources. Drunk or addicted parents neglect kids for long periods of time. They miss school, meals, and fun because of that. Foster brothers/sisters taunt or hit each other. This leaves with visible and invisible scarring. Visitors come and torture children in many other ways. All these add up. All these have real effects. For years after-decades even-foster kids need to work through this pain.
When you think about a lawsuit, you need to estimate damages. That’s a legal term. It means all the ways that an action negatively affected you. For instance, with child abuse, we see these kinds of damages a lot.
- Physical trauma like bruises, scarring.
- Mental anguish like depression.
- Social disorders like anxiety.
Child abuse might cause other damages. It depends on the situation and the victim. Yet, in every case, you’re adding up all the negative effects and costs (like medical care, damaged property, lost income) of the defendant’s misconduct. Then, you make your case for relief. We turn to that mission next.
Building Your Case for Child Abuse
How exactly do I make a claim for child abuse? This task outlines whether you’ll be able to recover. How you build it depends on whom you’re suing. Let’s start with private placement business. In that case, you’ll argue it was negligent in placing the kid. It shouldn’t have sent the child to that foster home. You’ll have to prove 4 elements of your negligence case.
- The agency had a duty to place the child in a safe home.
- The agency breached that duty by placing the child in an unsafe home.
- The child suffering damages as a result.
- The agency’s breach caused the child’s damages.
You can’t just make one or some of these points. All four of these elements must exist for you to recover. Negligence actions demand it. You’ll work with a lawyer and use the facts of your case to show they are all present.
If you’re suing a state-run program, then you’ll target a person that works there. You can’t sue the agency itself because of the 11th amendment to the US constitution. Here’s how you can make a case for foster abuse.
- Find a person that works for the proper state agency.
- Show they acted under the color of law.
- Exhibit how they deprived the child of his/her rights.
- Prove the defendant had deliberate indifference to the risk of harm to the kid.
- Dismiss that the defendant had qualified immunity.
For more info, see 42 U.S. Code § 1983.
These cases are much harder to make than negligence suits. Yet, the circumstances will dictate which you need to bring. The facts will shape how you argue your case. These elements form bases of the two most common kinds of foster care abuse lawsuits. In the next section, we’ll estimate how much these cases could be worth.
So How Much is a Foster Child Abuse Case Worth?
This depends on damages. Damages is a legal phrase. It means all the ways a defendant harmed you. It’s the sum that he/she owes you for your claims. You need to account for a couple of key categories. Think of your costs. These are your economic damages. Add up all the medical bills, lost money, property loss, and other out-of-pocket fees. Then, think of how the foster abuse intangibly hurt the child. This is non-economic damage. It is often the biggest area of recovery. It compensates kids for the pain, suffering, lost self-esteem, and change in normal life the abuse created. It dwarfs economic recover sometimes. We’ve seen it double or even triple the out-of-pocket compensation.
Then, if the foster abuse is really offensive, courts might award punitive damages. These are supposed to punish egregious conduct and warn others not to the same. Again, they can multiply your economic damages by a factor of four, five, or six. This makes sense too. Kids suffer a lot from foster abuse. Yet, their losses don’t really come in the form of bills or tangible costs. It’s more about how it changed their lives for the worse.
These three categories are the biggest areas of recovery for kids in foster abuse suits. They determine what the foster abuse case will be worth. In child abuse cases, we see awards of millions of dollars. Even the average is around hundreds of thousands. Foster care abuse is the same kind of case. You see similar verdicts and award ranges. Yet, to get a precise estimate, it’s good to talk to seasoned lawyers. They’ll sit down with you and review the facts. That will give you a tailored forecast. Then, you’ll know what your foster care abuse case might fetch.
Foster Care Abuse Verdicts
Past cases might predict your success in court. They also provide insight into how you can shape your suit the best. Here are some previous outcomes of foster abuse lawsuits around the US.
- $19,550,000 SETTLEMENT. This case was in Illinois. The plaintiffs sued the foster parent, placement agency, and employees of the agency. It claimed the parent allowed a man to come in and abuse a foster child. The agency tried to put the blame on the foster parent. Yet, it wasn’t able to exculpate the blame. The plaintiffs were able to extract the lofty settlement from all of them. The combined amount compensated for the child’s harms, court costs, and related expenses.
- $26,000,000 SETTLEMENT. This dispute arose in New York. It involved almost 10 kids. The alleged conduct took placed over 30 years. The plaintiffs claimed that a woman physically, sexually, and mentally abused many foster children. The plaintiffs’ attorneys sued the foster parent. Then, they targeted the state and its agencies. The suit said New York failed to properly monitor, place, and inspect the home. This could have prevented all of the kids’ harms. The state settled with the group at various times for amounts summing around $26 million.
- $11,000,000 VERDICT. This case was filed in Philadelphia. The plaintiffs brought it on behalf of a little girl. She was 5 at the time of the events. The complaint alleged various physical and sexual abuse events at the foster home. It claimed the state agency that placed her didn’t do a good enough job. Had it done the requisite background research and supervision, it could have led to a different result in their opinion. The foster parents had a record of abusing kids. At least, various reports suggested a pattern of harm. Both sides couldn’t agree to a settlement. A jury decided in the plaintiffs’ favor. This award is striking because it shows just how much liability placement agencies have for the actions of foster parents. Also, it shows where plaintiffs can recover if the foster parents are insolvent.
- $1,300,000 SETTLEMENT. The award in this Oregon case could have been much higher. The offender practically admitted to pedophilia during the screening process. Plus, plaintiffs’ attorneys stated that the state-run agency should have found he was viewing child porn during its review. It did not. It also failed to see other warning signs. The agency negligently placed the child in the care of the offender. He went on to serially abuse her. The plaintiffs artfully made their case on behalf of the little girl. The defendant, a state placement agency, put the award into a trust for her future care.
These results don’t mean you’ll get the same amounts. But use them as a guide. Work with a lawyer to figure out how their state’s laws allowed them to recover. It could work out similarly in your case!
Attorneys That Fight for Foster Kids!
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers fights for foster kids. We put pressure on agencies that place children in bad homes. They don’t deserve the abuse. They don’t deserve the long-term damage. Our team knows how to win against these bad companies. We can make sure you get the most in your foster care lawsuit. That will help pay for bills and ease the pain. To find how you can file a claim, call our offices. You can speak with someone at once. We’re ready to help!
Learn more about foster care abuse.