- Non-Accidental Head Injury (NAHI also sometimes referred to as Shaken Baby Syndrome, Abusive Head Trauma or Inflicted Head Injury)
- The Triad (a term used to describe a combination of injuries suggestive of NAHI, although it is known that not all NAHI present with the triad. These include bleeds to the brain, bleeding in the eyes and fractures)
- Brain Injury (e.g. bruising, bleeding or various kinds of damage to the brain)
- Eye Injury (e.g. bleeding to the eyes. This can be retinal, pre-retinal, intra retinal, sub-conjunctival etc)
- Bony injury (e.g. fractures, dislocated joints etc)
- Skin injury (e.g. bruising, petechiae markings blisters, bites, burns etc)
- Fabricated or Induced Illness (also sometimes referred to a Munchausen’s Syndrome and can include poisoning)
- Infant Death
Where a non-accidental injury is suspected, there are many issues that will need to be considered including the timing/age of the alleged injury, the degree of force needed to cause it, how such an injury can be caused (the mechanism), the presentation of the child and, most importantly, the differentiation between natural causes (medical conditions), accidental causes and non-accidental causes.
When an injury has been identified, either with no explanation or with an explanation that the doctors do not accept explains the injuries sustained, it is likely that social services will become involved for the protection of the child whilst investigations are ongoing and the Local Authority will start care proceedings. It is vital that parents seek legal advice from an experienced care solicitor who specialises in this field as soon as possible where non-accidental injury is suspected.
Some injuries to a child can show obvious signs others are not so much and are discovered upon further medical exploration. What is not always so obvious are any underlying reasons why the injury may have presented itself or the real circumstances which lie behind it.
A major part of our job as your solicitors is to listen to you and help you to provide the evidence needed to explore your side of the story. All too often professionals dealing with injuries to children jump to conclusions that the injury must have been caused non-accidentally if they are told that the injuries do not fit with the explanation provided. That very often includes getting new and impartial professionals to review the evidence, photos, doctors reports and reports from social services to get all the data about what happened. Sometimes we even get totally new examinations done, where considered necessary. Through the process of getting all that additional evidence we can often show a different story to what a parent is being accused of.