California Shaken Baby Syndrome Lawyer

Christopher Keane
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California Child Abuse and Child Injury Lawyer

Most attorneys and law firms that you will find on the internet are interested in defending people accused in a criminal case of shaking a baby.

Not the Keane Law Firm.

We are here to represent the baby, not the criminal defendant.

Chris Keane and the Keane Law Firm help shaken babies and their families to recover money in civil court so that they can have the financial resources available to hire the attendant care help and rehabilitation services which they will need to live the remainder of their lives.

This does involve taking money from the person who shook the baby and those who could have prevented it in order to correct the injustice that was done to the shaken baby, and the Keane Law Firm is very familiar with the processes involved in civil Shaken Baby cases.

Civil lawsuits involving shaken baby syndrome will focus on a number of different issues than criminal cases. Civil lawsuits focus on issues of negligence, not crimes.  That means that it is never necessary in a civil negligence case to prove that someone "intended" to injure the baby, only whether a person or employee failed to use reasonable care in handling a baby.

A person charged with criminal child abuse for allegedly shaking a baby may be successful in avoiding a criminal conviction for a number of reasons, but that doesn't mean that he or she should be held responsible, or liable, to your baby in a civil case because a civil jury may find that the person unintentionally or carelessly failed to use reasonable care in handling your shaken baby.

Also, there will be no need to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" who shook the child. A term called "preponderance of the evidence" comes into play in civil cases. This legal term is defined as "more likely than not", meaning that the person sued in a civil lawsuit was the person who shook the child.

Here's an example: A prosecutor or district attorney may choose not to proceed with a prosecution because she feels that she simply cannot prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the person arrested for shaking the baby was the person who did it.  That may be due, in part, to an inability to prove a precise time at which the injury was inflicted. Maybe the treating physician didn't have the knowledge to be able to provide such an opinion, or maybe the prosecutor or district attorney's office was unable to hire an expert physician for financial reasons.

While this may be discouraging to you as a parent, guardian, or family friend of the shaken baby, don't worry because you can still do something to help the shaken baby.  You do not need a criminal prosecution in order to file a civil lawsuit on behalf of the shaken baby.   Whether your local prosecutor or district attorney prosecutes a person successfully, or not, is not important to The Keane Law Firm.

We can represent a shaken baby in civil court even if a criminal defendant is found not guilty, or if a prosecutor does not go ahead with a trial.  

Also, unlike the prosecutor or district attorney, The Keane Law Firm is not limited to calling only the treating physician or coroner/medical examiner as a witness to prove the timing of the shaken baby injury. We can hire some of the top physicians in the country to prove the timing of the injury.

The Keane Law Firm is not constrained by the same financial budgets as a prosecutor or district attorney.  We retain the top experts in the country to work on a shaken baby syndrome case, and will do the same for your shaken baby.

Contact the Keane Law Firm now to see if we can help you help a child.


What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Shaken Baby Syndrome is an injurious condition caused by the shaking of an infant or child.  The action of rapidly shaking an infant or child causes the sudden forward, backward and sideway motion of the head. During the shaking action the brain is injured from hitting against the inside of the bony skull, causing inflammation, bleeding, separation of vessels and nerve fibers in the soft brain tissue on all sides of the brain. The brain of an infant or child is very soft because it has more water content and it is easier to injure than an adult brain. Therefore, less energy is required to cause lethal injury to an infant or child’s brain.  In shaken baby syndrome, the eyes may get injured by the sudden increase in pressure and motion around the soft tissues that make up the delicate structure of the eyes. After the shaking, the brain and the eyes bleed inside the confined spaces they are contained in.  This bleeding causes high pressure to build within the head and eyes. The damage caused by shaking the head, brain and eye structures and the increasing high pressure that follows causes permanent injury or death for the infant or child. If death does not occur the infant or child may be left with permanent brain damage, blindness, neuromuscular disability, paralysis, deafness, learning disabilities and/or a seizure disorder.

What causes Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Factors may be present that cause adults and their infants and children to be more at risk for abusive events such as Shaken Baby Syndrome.  Infants at risk include infants less than one year of age, male infants, infants of twin or multiple births, premature infants, infants with health problems and infants that have inconsolable crying spells. Adults at risk for committing abusive acts include adults with poor coping skills, unrealistic expectations, substance abuse, former victims of abuse and adults with mental health problems. Environmental factors that usually culminate in abusive events include social isolation, dysfunctional family characteristics and socio-economic burdens. However, Shaken Baby Syndrome may occur in any setting and it is important to know the signs and symptoms that may be present in an infant or child that may be a victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

What are the signs and symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome?  

The common signs and symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome include poor feeding, failure to thrive, vomiting, weakness, irritability, a change in overall muscle tone, decreased alertness, seizures, pale skin color, cool skin temperature, difficulty breathing and sudden respiratory or cardiac arrest. The fontanels may be swollen depending on the age of the infant. It is important to remember that there may be no bruising, scrapes or outward physical signs of trauma. There may be only a change in behavior as described in the first sentence. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

What medical tests do providers use to identify Shaken Baby Syndrome?

The healthcare provider will use physical examination, computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ophthalmologic examination, laboratory tests and skeletal x-rays to check for clinical evidence of Shaken Baby Syndrome.  

How can Shaken Baby Syndrome be prevented?

It is important for caregivers of infants and children to have adequate rest and a supportive environment. Feelings of stress and frustration are normal while caring for infants and children, however acting out in a harmful way towards the infant or child is not acceptable. The caregiver should focus on developing an abuse-prevention plan for dealing with feelings of stress and frustration that may emerge in the presence of the infant or the child. The abuse-prevention plan should include a cooling off period and developing an effective coping behavior that prevents physical abuse from occurring. It is best for families to be proactive and make an effort to provide a supportive environment for caregivers with children by assisting with childcare and allowing the caregiver respite. And the caregiver should not hesitate to ask family members and friends to assist with childrearing. It takes more than one person to care for an infant or raise a child. If you or someone you know has difficulty managing anger than utilizing community programs may be necessary if the family is not supportive. Please don’t hesitate to contact an organization in your community to assist you with childcare and respite issues. Please seek assistance if you feel overwhelmed by stress. If you know someone that has expressed frustration and is feeling overwhelmed, reach out and assist in any way that you can. Communication is essential to preventing child abuse. Remember approximately four million children are abused annually. Less than half of those cases get reported: Seeking assistance before an injury occurs is not a crime.    

What resources are available to prevent or support victims of Shaken Baby Syndrome?

The following resources are available to assist you with obtaining the information you need regarding Shaken Baby Syndrome:

1) San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center: (415) 441-KIDS

A prototype program for the entire country, providing child abuse prevention, parental 24-hour stress help (Talk Line), and parent support services - including daycare.

2) Keane Law Firm: 888-592-KIDS

A law firm which represents victims of shaken baby syndrome.

3)  Childhelp USA: (800)-4-A-CHILD

A hotline provides crisis counseling and literature about child abuse.

4)  National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse: 800-Children

This organization provides information and referrals about child abuse.

5)  National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, 2955 Harrison Boulevard, Suite 102, 
Ogden, UT  84403.  (801) 627-3399 or 1-888-273-0071

The National Center for Shaken Baby Syndrome is a private, nonprofit organization that provides information to professionals and parents about SBS. 

6)  The Shaken Baby Alliance, P.O. Box 150734, Ft. Worth, TX, 76108. (877) 6-END-SBS

The Shaken Baby Alliance site provides information regarding SBS prevention efforts, family support, victim advocacy, justice and legal issues, and has a library of SBS related information.

7)   Prevent Child Abuse America, 200 S. Michigan Avenue, 17th Floor, Chicago, IL 60604-2404. (312) 663-3520

The organization offers various programs on child abuse prevention, and it also directs efforts toward increasing public awareness about child abuse and neglect.

8)  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides general information about health and safety issues, including links to child abuse information and topics.

California shaken baby syndrome  lawyers are available to help if you know a shaken baby.  The Keane Law Firm has been recognized as having an AV rating - the highest legal ability and ethics rating available, and Christopher Keane has been rated as one of the leading plaintiff's lawyers in America as a "tireless advocate for injured children".  Contact him today to see if he can help your child.