A two-month-old Connecticut infant lost his life, allegedly at the hands of his father, according to Eyewitness News, WFSB.com. Workers at Yale-New Haven Connecticut hospital are among those mourning the small victim, who was airlifted from Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, for more advanced care.
The infant's father, age 25, is behind bars, after he allegedly repeatedly shook the child, who had been crying, while in his care. The infant's mother was at work at the time. According to the news report, the father went into another room to calm down, and then called the police after the incident, because the child was unresponsive. He was arrested upon a determination by the police that the incident was "non-accidental." The original charges included risk of injury to a minor, and first-degree assault.
When it was determined that the infant's injuries were fatal, the Connecticut State's Attorney's Office indicated that additional charges would be brought against the father. The child received hospital care soon after the incident, which occurred on a Friday morning, and passed away that Saturday afternoon.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Shaken Baby Syndrome," a form of abusive head trauma caused by shaking an infant, is the leading cause of child abuse deaths in the United States. Death occurs in 25 percent of instances where a baby is violently shaken, and nearly all infants who are violently shaken suffer serious health consequences from their injuries.
Connecticut Law and the doctrine of parental immunity
When an infant is injured or dies from injuries caused by a parent, it is important that someone seeking to bring a lawsuit has a clear understanding of Connecticut law. Some states cling to a rule called "parental immunity," which holds that a child, or an estate of a child who died, cannot sue a parent for an intentional injury. In Connecticut, court decisions indicate a distinct shift in this law. Particularly, in a case called Richardson v. Schochat, the court held that "Intentional parental conduct . . . may not be protected by the doctrine of parental immunity." This holding indicates that, although a child cannot sue their parent for injuries that were accidentally caused by a parent's negligence, an action is possible where the injuries were caused by an intentional act, including assault and child abuse.
When seeking to bring an action for injuries to or death of a minor child, against a parent, a great deal of evidence often becomes available when a criminal trial is held for the related incident. For example, when a parent is found guilty of child abuse or assault to a child, the prosecution is required to prove the guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The findings in the case are often helpful in the civil trial. Still, if a parent is found not guilty, it is possible that they could be found liable in a civil trial, where the burden of proof is lower.
If you are interested in bringing a lawsuit for personal injuries or wrongful death, the assistance of an experienced and compassionate attorney can help you obtain the best outcome possible.