Washington State To Pay Record $19.3M Settlement For Child Abuse Case

A child who suffered life-changing injuries and trauma due to alleged failures by Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) will receive a record-setting $19.3 million settlement.

According to KING5 News, the child entered the state’s foster care system as an infant in 2013 and was placed with a licensed foster family at the age of eight months. However, a man who claimed to be the girl’s biological father petitioned the court to grant custody to he and his wife, who lived in Austin, Texas.

Despite a court order requiring social workers to do so, DSHS failed to obtain a paternity test or parenting assessment for the man claiming to be the girl's father. They also failed to review a home study that had been carried out by social workers in Texas, which experts say would have exposed a number of red flags, including criminal convictions for domestic assault as well as manufacturing and selling illegal drugs.

In 2015, the child was hospitalized with 16 fractured ribs, lacerations to internal organs, brain trauma and internal bleeding, and contusions all over her face. She also allegedly suffered a heart attack while at the hospital.

Investigators determined that the man had severely beaten the child after she had gone to the bathroom on a floor in the house. Medical staff also discovered existing injuries that indicated a history of serious child abuse, including aged rib fractures and healed burn injuries.

Liability And Legal Responsibility For Abuse

In cases such as these, an experienced child injury attorney will look to establish negligence on behalf of the agency that was tasked with acting in the child’s best interests; in this case, Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).

Since the drug conviction would have disqualified man from being considered for custody of the child, a failure to review the information which would have alerted officials to the biological father’s criminal history would likely serve as evidence of negligence. Evidently, the attorneys handling this case were confident enough that DSHS failed to take the necessary steps to ensure the child was being placed in a safe environment.

This is a prime example of the importance of properly investigating a serious personal injury case, especially when government regulatory agencies are involved. A proper investigation can uncover missteps and failures within these bloated agencies and help establish negligence, which can make all the difference in a family’s pursuit of justice.

Meet With Our Child Injury Attorneys

Davis Law Group welcomes the opportunity to review any potential personal injury case and help injured victims and their loved ones better understand the personal injury legal process and how to protect their legal rights.

Our attorneys have helped injured children and their families achieve justice and recover fair compensation for their injuries and other damages since 1994. Attorney Chris Davis is one of the most decorated personal injury attorneys in Washington state.

Call our office in Seattle at (206) 727-4000 or use the confidential contact form on this page to have your case personally reviewed by our award-winning legal team. If we believe we can help you get the justice you deserve, our attorneys will meet with you for a free legal consultation.

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