Challenging and emotional situations are often amplified if children are involved. Not only are there a myriad of local, state, and federal laws protecting them, but there are also moral complexities that can have profound implications for all parties involved. One such circumstance raising concern involves allegations against parents or guardians for failing to get medical attention for their child and the potential legal consequences.
Child Medical Standards
Child welfare is a matter of significant public interest. Parents and guardians have a fundamental obligation to provide for their children's health and welfare, and most jurisdictions hold parents and guardians to their legal duties. Healthcare professionals like doctors and nurses will have hands-on knowledge of children, especially what constitutes proper medical care. However, there lies the risk of false accusations.
During a routine doctor's visit, a parent or guardian could be alleged of wrongdoing. Bruises, constant aliments, and odd injuries could set off red flags without any further basis of unlawful activity. Elements that would need to be established to prove such a situation vary, but generally, they may include:
- A Legal Duty to the Child: The parents and guardians have a legal obligation to provide medical care to the child.
- Breach of Duty: Those legally responsible failed to provide necessary medical care, thus constituting a breach.
- Causation: The child suffered harm because of the breach.
- Criminal Intent or Recklessness: In criminal cases, medical professionals may testify to intentional or reckless disregard on the part of the parents or guardians.
Even if parents or guardians think the situation is just a misunderstanding, local county prosecutors won't hesitate to investigate and seek charges. Moreover, physicians and others who provide expert testimony in court cases involving an alleged lack of child medical attention may be instructed to state their conclusions within a "reasonable medical certainty." Unfortunately, the determination is vague in the eyes of the court, as different experts use different standards to formulate their opinions through constantly fluctuating degrees of probability.
Potential Consequences for Child Abuse Charges
Considering the relatively low level of evidentiary standard a judge or jury may have to base their decision on, retaining professional help is essential. The potential consequences are grave and may lead to the following:
- Criminal Charges: Many states have laws that specifically define a failure to provide medical care as a form of child abuse or neglect, which can result in misdemeanor or even felony charges, especially if the child suffers substantial harm.
- Civil Liability: Parents or guardians may also face lawsuits for medical expenses, pain and suffering, or other damages to the child. If another party, such as a co-parent or family member, believes that the child has suffered harm due to the failure to obtain medical care, they may also sue for damages in a civil court.
Criminal convictions can result in imprisonment, fines, probation, or other sanctions, but they also impact a parent's reputation and employability. Worse still, Child Protective Services could become involved, leading to possible removal of the child from the home or a loss of parental rights.
How Can the Lento Law Firm Help You Protect Your Children?
Allegations of failing to provide medical attention for a child are grave matters that require a careful and sophisticated legal response. The stakes are high in terms of potential legal penalties and the lasting impact on the family unit and the child's well-being. That's why you need the Lento Law Firm on your side.
The experienced attorneys at the Lento Law Firm understand how healthcare professionals may allege wrongdoing without ground to stand on. Misunderstandings are common, but sometimes parents need to make tough choices given the situation. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or go online today.