Shaken Baby Syndrome describes the resulting symptoms arising from the violent shaking of an infant or small child. Symptoms can be minor:

  • Irritability;
  • Lethargy;
  • Tremors; and/or
  • Vomiting.

Symptoms can also be quite major:

  • Seizures;
  • Coma; and/or
  • Death.

These symptoms arise from intracranial injuries, so unfortunately, in many cases there is often no external evidence of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Are the Injuries from Shaken Baby Syndrome Serious?

Yes. In fact, the injuries from Shaken Baby Syndrome can be fatal. The victims that survive their injuries often suffer from debilitating conditions ranging:

  • Learning disorders;
  • Permanent vegetative state;
  • Blindness; and/or
  • Mental and developmental retardation.

These types of injuries and medical conditions can persist until later on in the person’s life. In addition, they can also cause complications if other medical conditions are present, such as epilepsy, neck injuries, or other related conditions.

Can Falls Cause Similar Injuries to a Child as Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Unless the child fell from a distance several stories high, then probably not. Alleged child abusers often claim that the injuries were sustained when the infant fell a short distance from a sofa, bed or changing table. However, studies show that short falls do not generally cause the type of intracranial injuries associated with Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Especially in the cases of death, an autopsy can be performed and will easily verify if the child died from Shaken Baby Syndrome or some other cause.

Who can be Held Liable for Causing Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the injury or medical condition, different parties might be held liable for causing Shaken Baby Syndrome injuries. In some cases, a person who is responsible for caring for a baby might be held liable if their actions cause Shaken Baby Syndrome in an infant. These can include persons who are tasked with caring for a baby for a short or extended period of time, such as:

  • Babysitters;
  • Day care workers; and/or
  • Medical professionals who handle infants, such as doctors, nurses, surgeons, and other medical personnel.

In addition, some baby products may be responsible for causing Shaken Baby Syndrome and similar medical conditions. In such situations, it may be possible to sue the manufacturer of such products under defective product laws.

What if a Baby or Infant Product Caused Injury to My Infant?

In some cases, defective baby products may actually be the cause of Shaken Baby Syndrome or other similar injuries and medical conditions in an infant. For instance, a product that rocks a baby or moves the baby (such as an infant cradle swing) may cause injuries if the product is defective in some way. In such cases, the manufacturer or producer of the product might be found liable under defective product laws. These types of lawsuits are typically categorized under three main types:

  • Warning Defects: These are errors or shortcomings in the way the health and safety risks of the product are presented. For instance, if a product is missing warning labels regarding safety risks for the baby, the manufacturer might be held liable under state or federal product laws.
  • Design Defects: These types of defects occur at the stage when the product is designed. If there is a defect with the product’s design that makes it cause injury to an infant, it might cause legal issues. 
    • An example of this is where a baby swing is designed in such a way that the motorized swing moves too fast, making it dangerous for use with infants. In such cases, the manufacturer might become liable for injuries caused by the defect.
  • Manufacturing Defects: These are defects that occur as the product is assembled or put together. For instance, if an important screw is omitted during the assembly process, causing the product to be more likely to break or fall, it may lead to legal issues if the defect results in an infant injury.

What are the Legal Remedies in a Shaken Baby Syndrome Lawsuit?

Shaken Baby Syndrome injuries can result in serious, long-term medical conditions for the victim. Legal disputes may occur in connection with such injuries and accidents; in such lawsuits, the remedy will usually be a monetary damages award.

The damages will usually cover costs and losses like hospital and medical bills, pain and suffering, and other costs. In cases where many infants are being harmed, or potentially harmed by a baby product, that product might be recalled and pulled from shelves in order to prevent further injuries. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with a Case?

If you believe that your child is suffering from Shaken Baby Syndrome, seek immediate medical attention and then call the police. If there is sufficient evidence, the police will then forward your case to the District Attorney's office to prosecute the person who committed the child abuse against the child. You should also strongly consider consulting a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer can help you hold the person who injured your child accountable.