Frequently Asked Questions About Child Injury Law

Parents of children who have been seriously hurt because of negligence or abuse need to know their legal rights. Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions about child injuries.
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  • Arefractured bones in infants suspicious for child abuse?

    Yes, it is very important to consider the age of the child at the time the child suffers a fractured bone. Fractured bones in infants is usually related to child abuse unless there is a disease of the bone itself. Some authorities think that spiral fractures are highly suspicious for child abuse, but it is important to remember that transverse fractures may also occur in child abuse cases. Fractured bones in non-mobile children and infants is an indicator of child abuse.   

  • When are spine fractures associated with child abuse?

    Major traumatic child abuse may involve spinal fractures. Spinal injuries usually involve injuries caused by hyperflexion and hyperextension that happens with shaking and blunt trauma. Infants suffer spinal injuries more frequently than children of any other age group. The presentation of spinal injury in an infant is indicative of child abuse when no reasonable mechanism of injury is known to have occurred.   

  • Do skull fractures frequently occur in child abuse?

    The second most common type of fracture that occurs in child abuse cases are skull fractures. No fracture type is 100% diagnostic of child abuse. The injury must be evaluated within the context of the child's developmental stage, the physical injury and reported mechanism of injury. Complicated skull fractures and skull fractures that cross the midline are more likely the result of child abuse than simple skull fractures that correlate with witnessed mechanism of injury.   

  • Is lead poisoning a brain injury? Can it cause learning disabilities for my child?

    Lead poisoning is considered a brain injury, although it can affect many of the body's systems depending on each case, according to Dee Tipton, the coordinator for the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in Clinton County, Ohio.  As one of the more common forms of brain injury in children, lead poisoning inflicts approximately 250,000 U.S. children ages one through five with blood lead levels that require public health actions (according to the CDC).  Tipton also reports that many of these brain-injured children do not display signs or symptoms of lead poisoning until age 4 or 5 (even if they suffered lead poisoning as infants), the age at which behavior or learning problems become noticeable. 

    Such learning or behavioral problems demonstrate the fact that lead poisoning is a brain injury, an injury that can lead to learning disabilities for children.  If you believe that your child may have suffered from lead poisoning or any other brain injury, feel free to contact child brain injury attorney Chris Keane with your most pressing questions. After spending years as an advocate for children with head and brain injuries, he has worked with the best medical experts in the field, and he will consult with you for free regarding your unique situation. 

    For more information on lead poisoning in children, testing, and long-term effects, click here.

    Contact Chris Keane online
    or call 1-888-592-KIDS (1-888-592-5437).

  • What are the typesorcategories of child maltreatment?

    There are several general types or categories of child maltreatment. The types or categories of child maltreatment include emotional, physical, sexual abuse, and neglect.
    Emotional abuse includes patterns of behavior that destroy the emotional development and self-esteem of a child. Emotional abuse involves lack of attention, love, guidance and verbalization of threats and insults.  
    Physical abuse include acts of commission and proactively engaging in activity that is intended to cause physical harm to the child.  
    Sexual abuse involves the sexual exploitation of a child by an older child or adult. Sex abuse involves sexual acts inflicted or forced upon a child for exhibitionism, child pornography, prostitution, profit or sexual stimulation. Sexual contact involves anal or vaginal penetration of a child with objects or body parts. It also involves inappropriate touching, kissing and fondling. 
    Neglect generally involves acts of omission. It is the failure of a parent or caregiver to meet basic needs of a child including lack of education, healthcare, nutrition, clothing, supervision, safety and shelter.

  • What is The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)?

    CAPTA is a federal law that supports individual state programs which focus on the identification and prevention of child abuse through community-based, preventative and public awareness programs. The goal of CAPTA is the provision of comprehensive care to victims, or potential victims, of child abuse with the integration of services provided by a variety of agencies; including legal, educational, mental health and social service organizations.   

  • Are children with disabilities more likely to be victims of child abuse or child maltreatment?

    Yes, children with disabilities are two-times more likely to be victims of child abuse, or child maltreatment, than children with no disabilities.

  • What are the costsinflicted onsociety as a result of child abuse and child maltreatment?

    There are both direct and indirect costs imposed on society as a result of child abuse and child maltreatment. Child maltreatment and child abuse directly increases the incidence of infant and child mortality. Child abuse increases the need for special education programs, protective agencies and services, foster care services, juvenille and adult criminal agencies, jails and psychiatric services. Prevention of child abuse not only lowers the overall burden to society but reduces criminal activity in communities.     

  • What are the conceptual frameworks that enhance understanding of how child abuse occurs?

    The conceptual frameworks that enhance understanding of child abuse, as outlined by some child abuse experts, include the epidemiological and ecological frameworks.

    Briefly, the epidemiological framework describes both long-term and short-term consequences of child abuse on normal childhood development. Individuals that grow up in abusive environments suffer from social dysfunction that prevent them from interpreting their environment with healthy coping skills. Child abuse is perpetuated in families because abused children are at increased risk to grow up and become abusive adults. Circumstances that contribute to child abuse include dysfunctional child-rearing styles, lack of available social support systems, dysfunctional stress management styles, and nature of parent-child relationships. 

    The ecological framework describes how child abuse occurs when parent-child relationships are dysfunctional. The likelihood of child abuse increases during stressful family situations. Child abuse is more likely to occur when parents with histories of victimization from child abuse encounter stress and increased conflict.   

  • Why is it important to use x-ray, or radiographic imaging, while evaluating a child for child abuse?

    It is important to use imaging studies to identify present and past skeletal injuries that a victim of child abuse may have suffered. For infants and small children, health care providers may order skeletal surveys to identify past and present skeletal injuries. Health care providers may order a skeletal survey and then repeat the study again two weeks later. This is because acute fractures may be occult or missed on the first study, but then evidence of a healing occult or missed fracture may be found on the second skeletal survey.
    High resolution images are used to avoid a missed diagnosis. Providers generally order multiple views of the chest including anterior and posterior with oblique views of the ribs, two skull views, lateral views of the entire spine, anterior and posterior views of the pelvis, arms, hands, legs, and feet. One x-ray view of any body part is not acceptable.  
    Evidence of child abuse is generally present when fractures are correlated clinically and found to involve the ends of long bones in non-ambulatory infants, multiple fractures or fractures in various phases of healing in any child, fractures associated with intracranial bleeds and depressed skull fractures.