Babies are bundles of joy, and no parent wants to bring harm to their little angels. However, there are instances when infants are exposed to dangers, such as physical violence. Shaken Baby Syndrome or SBS is a form of abusive head trauma where an infant suffers from head and neck injuries due to shaking. In the United States alone, there are more than a thousand cases of SBS reported annually. It can either result in life-long disabilities or, worse, death.
If a doctor diagnosed an infant with SBS, they must report the case to law enforcement as it may be a possible case of child abuse. Under the law, the police and court prosecutors should investigate and determine if the accused parties are liable for criminal charges. It will be up to the law enforcement agency if the evidence presented will warrant a case.
For parents who face such a situation, here is a guide on how to handle SBS cases.
SBS in a Nutshell
Also known as “Shaken Impact Syndrome,” SBS happens when a young child or baby is shaken violently, which resulted in irreversible brain damage. Signs and symptoms of SBS may include severe nausea, pale skin, loss of appetite, trouble breathing, and seizures. Bruises on the face and forehead could also be signs of SBS. Immediate medical attention is necessary for SBS cases.
People Held Liable for SBS
Law enforcement agencies can easily determine who could be held liable for SBS. Since this falls under child abuse, people who are responsible for the child or infant care are the prime suspects. Parents, nannies, relatives, daycare staff, and even medical personnel can be liable. Whether the incident happens in Denver, Los Angeles, or any other city, brain injury attorneys recommend parents or concerned parties to seek legal aid while the case is under investigation. After all, there are many factors to consider and options to explore in SBS cases.
Legal Consequences and Remedies
Shaken Baby Syndrome falls under child abuse, and the penalties for such actions are grave. These may range from five to ten years in federal prison. Each state, however, has different views on the legal consequences of such acts.
The state of New Mexico, for example, may impose up to eighteen years of imprisonment if the accused has committed grave bodily harm to the child. The family may also collect damages, depending on state laws, for funeral expenses, legal representations, and welfare fees if the child suffers long-term effects from SBS.
But there are instances where doctors mistakenly diagnose symptoms related to accidental falls as SBS. In other cases, plaintiffs used blood clots resulting from brain-related diseases to file SBS cases. Many SBS symptoms are similar to those of other diseases or accidents. A good defense attorney can help the accused prove they are not liable for SBS.
Shaken Baby Syndrome is preventable by observing proper infant or child care. Parents and families don’t need to suffer emotionally and financially from such occurrences. It’s always best to seek medical and legal advice when faced with SBS cases.