Shaken Baby Syndrome

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As trusted injury lawyers serving the Bay Area, we’ve seen just about every type of injury case imaginable, and few are as tragic as those involving children. If your child was injured by a negligent caretaker or adult, we may be able to help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. The thing about babies is that they cry—sometimes a lot. They don’t do it to punish or manipulate you; they don’t do it because they’re spoiled. Babies cry, sometimes fervently, because it’s their only communication tool, and they have a biological imperative to make their needs known. As a loving parent, you understand these ideas almost instinctively. Your love for your baby is boundless and unconditional. No matter how haggard and sleep-deprived you become in the first few months of parenthood, you would never dream of causing them physical harm. However, that’s not necessarily how hired caregivers, babysitters or family members feel. shaken baby syndrome When a caregiver becomes extremely frustrated, triggered or angered by a crying baby, they may shake the baby in an attempt to calm it down. Whether they realize it or not, violent shaking could cause irreparable damage to the baby’s brain, an injury referred to as shaken baby syndrome (SBS). This type of brain injury is a form of child abuse and can result in permanent brain damage, disability and death. If you suspect a caregiver may have given your child shaken baby syndrome, you deserve justice. We may be able to hold the negligent party accountable while we pursue compensation for your child’s recovery. This article will explore common symptoms and causes of shaken baby syndrome, as well as the steps to getting a diagnosis. At Delfino, Green & Green, we understand that serious injuries affect more than physical health. They impact a family’s finances, job options, quality of life and more. We believe your settlement should reflect the full range of these losses and will work tirelessly to secure it. 

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Understanding Shaken Baby Syndrome

There are between 600 and 1,400 cases of shaken baby syndrome in the U.S. each year, according to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome. This injury represents the most common cause of child abuse deaths in young children (under five years of age) and typically has lifelong effects on the victim, putting them at risk for developing a variety of serious health problems.

Causes of Shaken Baby Syndrome

Before discussing the symptoms, it’s important to understand how shaken baby syndrome occurs. Shaken baby syndrome is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs when a small child is shaken violently. As young children have underdeveloped, weak neck muscles, there’s nothing to stop the baby’s brain from bouncing back and forth against the inside of their skull. This whiplash can result in bleeding, bruising and swelling.

Shaken Baby Syndrome Symptoms

Just like with other types of brain injuries, shaken baby syndrome may present with a wide range of symptoms, some of which are much easier to spot than others. After sustaining this type of injury, a baby may present with any of the following symptoms:
  • Bleeding, bruising and swelling in the brain
  • Bleeding in the eye, retinal hemorrhages
  • Unconsciousness
  • Seizures
  • Breathing difficulties and pale or blue skin
  • Extreme irritability and vomiting
In some cases, a baby’s symptoms aren’t immediately apparent and only appear as the child grows older. These latent symptoms and conditions could include vision problems or loss of sight, problems with body movement and control, seizures, weakness, neck and spinal cord damage, intellectual and learning disabilities and more. No matter when they appear, though, research is clear that this type of abuse can result in severe and lasting health consequences.

Getting a Shaken Baby Syndrome Diagnosis

Although a parent may not be able to tell whether or not their child is suffering from shaken baby syndrome, a thorough medical examination will reveal what’s going on. Your doctor will take the child’s medical history and perform a cursory examination. If they suspect shaken baby syndrome, they may order the following tests:
  • A skeletal survey. Your doctor may order X-rays of several bones, including those in the arms, hands, legs, feet, spine, ribs and skull, to detect breaks or skull fractures. These X-rays can help them determine whether the baby’s head trauma was accidental or purposeful.
  • An eye examination. A doctor may perform an eye exam to check for bleeding in the eyes—a common symptom of head injury in children.
  • Blood tests. Certain genetic disorders and metabolic conditions can cause symptoms similar to the ones seen in children with shaken baby syndrome. Analyzing your child’s blood can help them rule out other potential causes of their symptoms.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Healthcare providers may order an MRI to get a better look at your baby’s brain and spine. These tests can reveal bruising, bleeding and even signs of decreased oxygen, but they’re difficult to perform on a baby who’s unstable. Depending on your child’s current condition, the medical team may order an MRI for a couple of days after their condition is more stable.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan. If the doctor is concerned that your child may need urgent treatment, they may order a CT scan of your baby’s brain and other areas. These tests use X-rays to capture cross-sectional images that can reveal hidden injuries.
Depending on what the medical team finds, your baby may need to be monitored in a pediatric intensive care unit until their condition improves. Physicians can initiate a number of life-saving measures to reduce the severity of the child’s injuries, which is why it’s essential for parents to seek medical treatment if they suspect shaken baby syndrome.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken baby syndrome is a tragic, complex injury that carries lifelong implications for the people it affects. If you have questions about your legal options after your child has been diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome, it’s a good idea to speak with a traumatic brain injury attorney as soon as possible. In the meantime, check out the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions. • What should you do if you suspect shaken baby syndrome? Even if you just suspect shaken baby syndrome, you should seek immediate medical care for your child. A medical team can order a number of tests that reveal life-threatening injuries, the outcome of which is typically much better with rapid medical intervention. • Is shaken baby syndrome deadly? Tragically, shaken baby syndrome is lethal in about 25% of cases. Death is typically caused by swelling and pressure in the baby’s brain and skull, bleeding within the baby’s brain or tears in the baby’s brain tissue. • How do you know if your baby has shaken baby syndrome? Seeking medical attention is the only way to know for sure whether your baby is suffering from shaken baby syndrome. Although the symptoms discussed above can be indicators of shaken baby syndrome, they’re sometimes caused by other conditions and illnesses.

Delfino, Green & Green: Leading Brain Injury Attorneys in the San Francisco Bay Area

Children should never be injured by their caregivers, much less made to sustain traumatic brain injuries. If your child was diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome, your family deserves justice. We may be able to help you hold the at-fault party accountable and secure the compensation you need to finance your child’s recovery and ongoing medical needs. At Delfino, Green & Green, we know that this is a difficult time. That’s why we make getting started easy. Simply contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation, or call our law office at (415) 442-4646 to speak with a compassionate legal expert today.

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Construction Death

The husband and father of 4 young children was working at a construction site when he died because of another contractor's negligence. After more than two years of hard fought litigation, our team of experts was able to win a tremendous victory on behalf of our clients and ensure that all of their financial needs will be met. We could not bring back the husband/father for this family, but we were able to protect them from the financial devastation that can and often does result where the primary source of income for the family is taken away. We then worked with our team of financial planners to make sure that this family will always have financial security.


Bad Faith Insurance Claim

Insurance Coverage/Bad Faith Bad Faith – Pollution Coverage Prior to forming his own firm, Mr. Green worked at one of the largest and most prestigious firms in the U.S. He was the primary attorney on an environmental insurance case that went to trial in San Francisco. After a several week trial, Mr. Green came away with a trial verdict against the insurers with a value of over $10,000,000 in available insurance coverage.


Traumatic Brain Injury

A 16 year old developmentally disabled kid was hit by a bus while in a crosswalk. He suffered a concussion which turned into post concussive syndrome, where the symptoms of the concussion don't heal completely. This is also known as a mild Traumatic Brain Injury ("mTBI"). Our firm was hired as trial counsel 6 months before trial because of our expertise in TBIs as well as cutting edge trial techniques. When we first associated into the case, there was a very minimal settlement offer and it did not appear that the Defense was taking the case seriously. Our team of attorneys, experts and staff immediately immersed ourselves in the case as we prepared to demonstrate the catastrophic consequences of this incident. Shortly before trial, the Defense could see that we had put all the pieces together to prove liability and that full justice for our young client required damages in the many millions of dollars. The matter settled for $5,750,000.


Disability Claim

Disability – Neurological Issues Our client became disabled from neurological issues. Our attorneys were able to work with the client and his physicians to quickly assemble all of the documentation necessary to support out client’s claim of total disability. The insurer agreed that our client was totally disabled and paid his claim.


Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury to Child A three year old child was being carried across the street when she was struck by an oncoming car. The child suffered a serious traumatic brain injury when she hit the ground. Her injuries were so serious she had to be hospitalized for several months. Our firm negotiated a settlement of $2,000,000 by forcing the payment of all of the available insurance from the driver’s automobile insurer ($1,250,000), the entire amount of the homeowners insurance limits available ($500,000), and all of the amounts that the person carrying the little girl was able to recover from the negligent driver ($250,000). We then arranged for another firm to prepare and fund a large Special Needs Trust for the health and welfare of the injured child.


Heart Condition Disability

Our client became disabled by a heart attack. The insurer refused to pay, claiming that our client was still able to perform his occupation. We met with all of our client’s doctors, obtained reports confirming the client’s inability to perform his prior occupation, and ultimately convinced the insurance company to pay the claim in full.


Builder’s Risk/Collapse

A contractor suffered a severe collapse at one of his sites. The claim was submitted to the insurer and denied. Mr. Green reviewed all of the facts, researched the law, and brought together the necessary experts to prove that the Contractor’s Builders Risk insurer was responsible for a substantial portion of the loss. He also proved that a subcontractor was negligent and the subcontractor’s insurer also paid a substantial settlement. In total, Mr. Green was able to obtain more than $1,700,000 in compensation for his client.


Heart Condition Disability

Our client had worked for the government for many years when she began suffering from a serious heart condition. All of her doctors told her that she could no longer work and if she continued to do so, she would be risking further injury to her heart or even death.


Traumatic Brain Injury

Our client suffered a mild Traumatic Brain Injury when heavy object struck her in the head. The responsible party denied all fault and insisted until the very end that our client had not suffered a brain injury and offered nothing to settle the case. Our firm assembled a team of world renowned expert‘s to demonstrate that our client had suffered a mild Traumatic brain injury. The case settled shortly before trial.


Traumatic Hand Injury

Our client was working at a manufacturing plant. While operating a piece of machinery, his glove became caught in the machinery and part of his hand was severely injured. Ordinarily, this type of injury would be restricted to remedies available through Worker’s Compensation. However, through the knowledge, ingenuity, and creativity of our team of attorneys, we were also able to obtain a very substantial civil settlement for our client in addition to the workers comp settlement of his case.


Aviation Death Settlement

A husband and father of two small children was killed in an aviation accident involving a small aircraft. Our firm represented the widow and two children against the pilot of the aircraft. By hiring experts in aviation (to prove negligence) and economists (to prove damages), and utilizing William Green’s expertise as an instrument-rated pilot, we were able to make a very powerful case and obtain a very favorable settlement that allowed the family to survive financially.


Forklift Accident

A construction supervisor went to pick up some materials for a construction job. A worker at the yard neglected to set the parking brake on a piece of heavy equipment a few yards away. While the construction supervisor had his back turned, the machine rolled into him, pinning him against the side of his pick-up truck. He suffered several broken ribs, but that was the least of his injuries. Within several weeks of the accident, he had partially lost his sight. By working with medical experts, our firm was able to directly connect the sight loss to the injuries caused by the machine that rolled into our client. The case settled at Mediation without any need for a trial.

Words of Praise from Our Clients

“I had the pleasure of working with Sharon Delfino on my workmens comp case. She definitely had my best interest at hand. She was able to find me a great doctor and help me resolve my case. The staff there are always polite and friendly, never had an issue. It was a pleasure working with Delfino Green & Green !”

- Tabitha W

“I’ve known the firm’s founder, Bill Green, for many years and I can say that he is one of the best attorneys I’ve had the pleasure of working with. He and his associates at Delfino Green & Green are hard-working, highly responsive, and very professional, and they get the job done, without excuses. Bill is a great communicator, both with clients, and in Court, and invests time and money to include visual storytelling in his trials and mediations. You won’t find an attorney who cares more about you, and getting you an outstanding result for your case. Bill is one of the “good guys” in the legal profession…a great person to have on your side when dealing with the craziness of litigation.”

- Tim M

“A few years ago, I referred a friend of mine to the attorneys at Delfino Green & Green. He was extremely happy with the job they did on his case. He was severely injured when a car hit him when he was crossing a street and this event had the potential to ruin him in a number of ways – financially, physically, emotionally, etc. We kept in close contact during the lawsuit and he told me how great his lawyer and his assistant were throughout the process. Caring, compassionate and very knowledgeable. My friend ended up with a great result – fair financial compensation and great treatment for his injuries. Little did I know when I referred my friend that a few years later, I would need a lawyer for injuries I suffered, but I did. Based on my friend’s experience, I knew that Delfino Green & Green would be the right attorneys for me. So I hired Bill Green and his team to help and they jumped right into action. Now I can saw that I too have firsthand knowledge of just how great these guys are. They knew the law, they knew just how to handle my particular case, and they helped me get my life back after the horrible events that lead to my injury. I can’t imagine that you could do any better than hiring these folks. I’m so grateful for all they did for both me and my friend.”

- Evelyn A

“The work Delfino Green & Green did on my case was beyond excellent. The final result was superb, but I also truly appreciated how Mr. Green and the team kept me up-to-date at every stage of the case. I was able to reach someone whenever I needed something or had something important to report and the firm always let me know what was going on in my case. That was very important to me because I hadn’t found that to be true with other attorneys. In short, really top flight work, great people and results that met all of my expectations above and beyond.”

- Byron H
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