Non-accidental injuries – what happens when a child gets hurt and we don’t know the reason why

Children can be clumsy. They can fall over or get knocked down and they get right back up again. Children suffer from bumps, bruises and breaks. Accidents can happen but sometimes a child can be injured and the explanation provided is not consistent with the medical evidence available.


When a child is injured people are often asked to explain how that injury occurred. If the explanation given is inconsistent or does not fit with the medical evidence available then the injury could be considered to be non-accidental.


When a child presents with an injury that is deemed non-accidental, it is likely that social services will become involved and the Local Authority could issue care proceedings. Where a non-accidental injury is suspected it is important that parents seek legal advice from a solicitor. Here at Emery Johnson Astills, we specialise in child care law and have expert care solicitors who have represented parents in cases involving non-accidental injuries.


If a non-accidental injury is suspected there are a number of issues that need to be considered. Factors that will be considered are:-

  • Age of the injury – when did it occur
  • Degree of force needed to cause the injury
  • How the injury could have been caused
  • How the child presents – are they fearful
  • What, if any, explanation has been given for the injury.


If care proceedings are issued the Judge in the Family Court could be asked to make a finding of fact to determine how the injury occurred. This would be done at a fact finding hearing where evidence would be heard from a number of people, namely; parents, people with responsibility to care for the child when the injury occurred, doctors involved in the child’s treatment and independent medical experts. This type of hearing can be daunting but you do not need to do this alone. Here at Emery Johnson Astills our care solicitors we can support you and advise you through this process. We will assess you for free legal advice through Legal Aid as in many cases, free legal aid can be obtained.


If Social Services are involved with your family and you would like to speak to one of our specialist solicitors within the care department at Emery Johnson Astills, please do not hesitate to call us on 0116 255 4855.