Shaken baby syndrome, or SBS is a severe and life threatening condition facing the most vulnerable in our society. This is commonly caused by abuse and can cause Abusive Head Trauma, or AHT, a type of Inflicted Traumatic Brain Injury (ITBI). This type of injury can be prevented, but once it occurs, immediate action needs to be taken to protect the life of the baby.
Due to the fact that the undeveloped brain is violently shaken inside the skull cavity it can tear the child’s blood vessels that nurture the brain. Once the blood and fluid build up in the brain, it can cause severe pressure leading to brain damage. Warning signs include bloody retinas or eye damage. Get the infant to a doctor and contact an attorney immediately.
Physical abuse is a terrible crime, especially to infants. Abuse is the top cause of catastrophic head injuries leading to SBS. Shaking a child can cause this easily, while throwing a child or hard impacts can also lead to it.
Whiplash can lead to severe issues, including bleeding of the brain and fluid in the cranium. While there may not be overt clues, often there are warning signs to look for.
As stated by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, these can include:
- Bruises about the head, arms, neck and chest
- Respiratory problems like difficulty breathing
- Problems lowering and raising the head
- Inability to track movement with the eyes
- Different sized pupils from left to right
- A normally happy child no longer smiles
- Throwing up food out of the blue
- Welts or bumps on the head
- Swollen forehead or head
- Problems with speech
- Less lean muscles
- Convulsive attacks
- Inability to eat
In many serious SBS cases, severe neurological disorder could be a result, perhaps leading to death. A child can pass out and never recover from the event, leading to nervous system collapse. There is only one way to be sure– contacting a doctor that will help you through this tough time.
If the case of SBS is particularly severe, it could be a Traumatic Brain Injury. This could cause severe injury or permanent disabilities.
Some of the effects of TBI are:
- Major or even minor learning disabilities
- Incorrect or biased motor function
- Problems with receptive language
- Problems with memory cognition
- Permanent speech issues
- Inability to perceive
Due to the fact that the child’s brain and neurological network is still growing, this is among the most severe issues that can be faced. Erratic emotions, lack of physical control over the muscles and limbs are all possibilities that go hand in hand with a permanent disability.
The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome statistics show that 1,400 infants are given medical care for SBS each year. Unfortunately, about 25 or 30 percent of these infants pass away from the complications of SBS. Those that survive often face severe and life altering injuries that can stay with them for decades if not longer.
When a responsible adult suspects that a child is the victim of shaking or throwing, they must first bring the child to the doctor or emergency room. If this is proven to be the case, you must consult an attorney to determine the next step of recovery.
Education is the primary way to prevent SBS. Some adults are awful and hurt children. With SBS being not entirely preventable, dealing with this severe issue is necessary. Not hitting children for crying or shaking children inadvertently is vital. Preventing child abuse is something that every responsible citizen, can do to make the world a better and more loving place. Educating new parents, is key to reinforcing prevention. Mentoring new families by identifying the emotional triggers and methods of working through them can certainly mitigate, or diminish entirely, the potential risk factors. The end game is prevention.
Infants that have suffered a shaking incident will have to deal with the future issues related to it– and so will their family. If the child was hurt by a family member, a nanny, babysitter, or day care worker the costs of medical issues, rehabilitation, and full time care are severe and could bankrupt a family.
A criminal case that involves a shaken baby is much different that a civil case. In civil court, negligence is the focus of the issues, not whether a crime can be proven. Proving that injury was intended for the baby is not needed to be proven in a civil lawsuit. Instead, a family injury attorney will seek to prove that the person handling the baby failed to use reasonable care.
Since proving a criminal case requires a unanimous verdict, the accused may escape a criminal conviction. This does not mean we as your civil attorneys cannot still prove your case. If we can show a jury in a civil case that the person responsible was careless, unintentionally injured the baby, or did not handle the baby reasonably.
When dealing with a lower standard of proof this could make it easier to prove that the responsible party should pay for the damage as it is proven that they are most likely to have carried out the assault. Our specialized attorneys at the Ehline Law Firm PC are set to tackle the issue in court and hold the liable party financially responsible in court. Our attorneys don’t give up and will help you get what you deserve.
An attorney with experience in cases like this can make a big difference, especially when dealing with these issues can be the deciding factor. The fighters at the Ehline Law Firm PC stand ready to assist the victims of such an assault and their families. We know the steps in the civil law process, the criminal courts, and how to convince a jury or even settle out of court.
We organize evidence, consult with medical and other professionals, and front the costs. We don’t charge you a dime unless we win for you. We can testify on your and your infant’s behalf and use our wealth of knowledge to help get this dark time past you. Call us today for a free consultation.