The physical abuse of a child can result in injuries to a child that range from bruises to broken bones, damaged internal organs, and death. When a parent learns that his or her child has been physically abused by someone the parent and child trusted, natural reactions include anger, utter helplessness, and even guilt. If your child has suffered physical abuse at the hands of another adult, you may be entitled to compensation from those responsible in a civil action.
Child physical abuse attorney Jeffrey Killino has extensive experience with child injuries, which may be caused by negligence or intentional acts. Contact attorney Killino at 877-875-2927 to learn more about your legal options.
About Physical Child Abuse
Child abuse may come in many different forms. Physical abuse, or the intentional striking, shaking, or touching of a child in an aggressive and harmful manner, has the potential to seriously injure or even kill the victim. Each year, over 900,000 children suffer from abuse of some sort, and over 15% of these children are victims of physical abuse. If your child exhibits signs of being physically abused, you are well-advised to seek immediate medical as well as legal assistance.
Child abuse is so prevalent that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) formed the Section on Child Abuse and Neglect (SOCAN) and the Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect (COCAN) to heighten awareness and recognition of child abuse and the care given to infants, children, and adolescents who are the victims of such abuse.
Signs of Physical Abuse
Parents need to familiarize themselves with the signs of physical abuse, including physical as well as emotional changes. Common signs of physical abuse include the following:
- Many atypical bruises
- Cuts or lacerations
- Skin discolorations
- Bone fractures
- Changes in personality
- Unwillingness to engage in physical interaction with other people
- A more timid approach to others
- Exhibiting fear of certain adults
- Aggressive play with other children
A child who exhibits any of these symptoms may be suffering from physical abuse of some sort. You may find it necessary to remove your child from someone’s care or access and contact the authorities if you believe your child’s symptoms result from someone’s physical abuse.
Legal Liability for the Physical Abuse of a Child
Most people are aware that adults who physically abuse children may be subject to criminal prosecution for intentionally causing physical injury to a child. But, many are unaware that those who physically abuse a child may be subject to civil liability, as well.
Civil liability for the physical abuse of a child may result from a number of circumstances, including abuse of a supervisor or abuse by an employee of a daycare center, school, or other entity that employs an abusive individual.
Physical Child Abuse by an Adult Supervisor
Adult supervisors, or people in whose care a child has been entrusted, have often been found to physically abuse children who are under their care. A civil action for assault and battery, for example, may be brought against any adult who has engaged in the physical abuse of a child.
The standard of proof required in a civil action for assault and battery is far easier to meet than the standard of proof required in a criminal trial. In a criminal prosecution for assault and battery, the defendant’s physical abuse must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in order for the abuser to be convicted. In a civil action, however, the plaintiff need only establish the elements of the cause of action by a preponderance of the evidence, which requires a showing that it is more likely than not that the tort (such as civil assault and battery) was committed. When a criminal conviction has already been obtained, proof in a civil case may be aided by that conviction.
Any adult supervisor who is found in a civil action to have engaged in physical abuse, or the assault and battery, of a child may be held liable for damages suffered by the child as a result, including past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and the costs of therapy to address such emotional trauma.
Liability of Employer for the Physical Abuse of a Child by an Employee
Under certain circumstances, the employer of an adult supervisor may also be found liable in a civil action for the physical abuse of a child by an employee. If, for example, the employer was negligent in screening, hiring, training, or retaining the employee, the employer may be held liable for the abuse committed by the employee in an action for negligence.
If your child has been physically abused, you may be entitled to compensation, in a civil action brought against the parties responsible, for the injuries suffered by your child as a result. Contact child physical abuse lawyer Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927 for compassionate and experienced assistance with your case.