The severe injury or loss of a baby naturally devastates parents in Pennsylvania. It also attracts the scrutiny of authorities, and accusations that you shook your baby during an emotional episode add to your shock.
Physicians typically cite brain swelling, hemorrhages within the eyes, brain bleeding and bone and spinal injuries to support a diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome. However, these symptoms could arise from other sources, such as accidental falls or injuries that occurred prior to the time that you stand accused of harming your child.
Accidental falls or undetected disease
Young children who are crawling or taking their first steps can have accidents. Their falls might cause head trauma that physicians could assume was caused by shaking. At times, caregivers do not detect the injuries immediately because the symptoms might not become apparent until later. Infections also have the potential to affect a baby’s brain and result in deadly blood clots and strokes.
Time of injury unclear
If your baby first exhibited serious symptoms of injury while in your care, authorities will likely assume that you assaulted the child. Such an assumption ignores the possibility that symptoms might take a while to become evident. Just as time may need to pass before the serious effects of an accidental fall become apparent, mistreatment by a different caregiver might be overlooked. Undetected birth injuries could even be the source of symptoms that you are now blamed with having caused.
Cases of child harm require a skilled defense
Allegations of violence against children will understandably arouse the emotions of prosecutors and jurors. Under such circumstances, you will need to develop a defense strategy with the help of an experienced attorney. Attorneys who handle these types of serious cases often have the resources to consult with independent physicians and possibly gain testimony that may counteract a prosecutor’s assumptions.