A personal injury claim is easy to do when you are a civilian and your rights are violated or you get hurt. However, most people don’t know that they can hire a personal injury lawyer and file a lawsuit even if they are in prison. It’s hard to follow the procedure obviously, but you have every right to do so.
If a fellow prisoner harms you in any way and causes you pain and suffering, then you can sue him. Although in this case, you cannot claim for personal injuries yourself, like you can while being a civilian. For this, you’ll need a lawyer. Read here more about finding a reputable lawyer.
The federal government has allowed prisoners to sue other prisoners for personal injuries by FTCA (Federal Tort Claim Act). Many state governments have adopted this act or variations of this act. They allow state prisoners to have this right.
If you get hurt by the police authority, then you also have the right to sue the jail with negligence. But you can only file a lawsuit if you are in state or local government. The appeal can be done in federal court however, the federal government will not be held responsible for the harm.
Things that can cause injury in jail/prison
A number of factors can play a role in the injuries of inmates in jail. Following are some of them:
Trip or slip:
Nobody can avoid simple injuries caused by slipping or falling. You can easily slip on slippery floors, wet or unbalanced floors, on spilled foods or for various other reasons. It’s especially hard when you are chained. Slip and trip injuries can range from cuts, bruises or major injuries like bone breakage or internal head damage etc.
Prisoners are likely to get into accidents while being transferred in car, buses, trucks, vans and even planes. Since inmates are set to transfer, they might get unlucky and be injured in an accident.
Prisoners can get into fistfights. Prison is a very heated place and there are a number of reasons why two prisoners can get into an argument that eventually then turns into a physical fight.
Mistreatment of staff:
Prison staff can also play a role in hurting an inmate. Inmates, especially women are usually helpless against guards when they abuse or assault them.
Standard care for prisoners
Like every civilian, prisoners also have rights while in police custody. Their life has also the importance and is not allowed to be hurt or taken by someone, even if they are guilty of a rime. Courts require prisons to use ‘ordinary and prudent personal’ judgment to enforce and maintain a prisoner’s safety. This standard of care is explained in more detail by many state statutes.
State provides a standard care procedure for inmates who have been incarcerated. In the eighth amendment of the US Constitution, the inmates are given the right to adequate care. Adequate care means that a proper health report will be taken every now and then of prisoners and they will be provided with the necessary medical care.
If the inmates do not get the medical care they have every right to, then they can send a letter request to the authority asking for the care. If the request is left unanswered, then the prisoner can sue the jail authority.
Things to consider
When the accident happens, the first thing a prisoner can do is ask for a lawyer. If you have your own lawyer, then talk to him but if you don’t have a lawyer then you could ask the authorities to assign you one. This is one of the rights of prisoners. You can tell your lawyer what happened and show him your injuries.
There is a standard procedure for everything. Your lawyer will first discuss with you and list the factors and see if the case is even strong enough or if it’s even worth it. It depends on the strength of evidence and also the strength of the defendant because sometimes a defendant has numerous allies and assets which can possibly make the whole situation even worse.
The extent of your damages adds a huge factor. If the injuries are minor then you probably shouldn’t waste your time, since all kind of criminals comes to prison and some of them are more dangerous than the other. But if your injuries are serious or near fatal, then ask for your lawyer’s help. Another factor is that if the defendant can even pay the money or would pay the money. Either case it is also taken into consideration before making a claim.
Another thing that you should keep in mind is that inmates get transfer to different facilities. If the inmate of your defendant is about to get transferred, then it can delay the whole procedure for a long time because settlements don’t happen overnight. If the inmate of your defendant is about to be shifted then you may as well forget about your claim.
You can sue
The criminal law attorneys specialize in this area and can help you file a lawsuit against the person who harmed you while being in prison. Certain standards are met and reports are filed but the lawsuit can take place if you want.
But before you file a lawsuit, you need to claim your personal injury claim and ask for compensation. The adjustors can become violent and can try to corner you into giving up, but remember to stick with your claim. They can also try to take the unfaithful road, but you let your lawyer do all the work because he has the experience to help you out.
A settlement offer will be made. If the offer does not compensate for your loss, then you can ask for a better one. There are ways to negotiate the compensation in your favor, you will just have to be patient and remember to be alert because the adjuster can trick this situation against you in many ways.
If the negotiation doesn’t go in your favor and no compensation is made, then you can file a lawsuit and fight the case in small claims courts.
Claiming a personal injury claim can be very hectic if you are a civilian. It can be more hectic if you are a prisoner of the state because of that, not many people go through it. However, you can win the case if your claim is right and if your case is strong enough. All you have to do is find a good criminal lawyer for yourself and let him do the work.