Prisons and jails have a constitutional obligation to provide reasonable medical care to their inmates. Prisoners cannot obtain their own treatment, so they’re at the mercy of the institutions that incarcerate them. Denial of prison medical care is a serious civil rights violation, and seeking justice requires a serious law firm. You can depend on Hale & Monico. If you or someone you love is being denied medical care during their time in jail or prison, our civil rights attorney can help.
The Responsibility To Provide Prison Medical Care
Once someone becomes a prisoner or inmate, a number of constitutional responsibilities go into effect. They include the obligation to take reasonable steps to keep inmates safe and healthy. Even someone in prison for a serious crime has the right to be treated with basic human dignity.
That means inmates have the right to adequate treatment of known health problems. A prison or jail cannot simply turn a blind eye to an inmate’s medical needs or refuse to provide care for them. If a facility does so, the jail or prison can be held liable for injuries caused as a result of care being denied. And if the inmate dies, that liability becomes wrongful death.
Denial of medical care can be viewed as a form of cruel and unusual punishment, which is prohibited under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. This is different from mere negligence or medical malpractice. Rather, denial of care exists where a plaintiff proves deliberate indifference to the prisoner’s medical needs. It’s a situation that happens more than people realize.
What Are Some Examples Of Denied Prison Medical Care?
Any time an inmate or prisoner dies, contracts a disease, or gets injured due to a medical issue in jail or prison, the conduct of those in charge has to be scrutinized. There are a number of examples of denied medical care that could result in a legal claim, including:
- Ignoring inmate symptoms. Failure to respond to a prisoner’s symptoms could allow a disease or injury to get worse, causing additional complications or possibly death.
- Refusal to treat infections. One example of a condition that could grow much worse is an infection, which may lead to sepsis and other serious problems.
- Failure to provide prescription drugs. Whether it’s for a condition acquired during jail or prison, or for one that was pre-existing, inmates have a right to access their prescription medications in line with their needs.
- Unreasonable delays of medical care. A delay in medical care can be considered a denial, depending on the circumstances, since urgent conditions that are ignored can cause injury.
- Denials of care that result in death. As mentioned above, some cases of denied prison medical care result in inmate death, which in turn can form the basis of a wrongful death claim.
Why Inmates Are Denied Medical Care
Prison and jail overpopulation is a major problem throughout the United States. As facilities become crowded while staff sizes remain relatively the same, inmates’ healthcare gets left behind. In addition, more and more prisons and jails are contracting their medical services to outside corporations. These companies have little incentive to provide even adequate healthcare to inmates. Finally, there are some prison staff members who simply don’t care, with prisoners being unable to do much about it.
These and other causes have to be explored in a denied medical care case. It’s up to the injured prisoner, or his or her family, to prove their claim in court.
How To Prove Denied Prison Medical Care
The right to receive reasonable medical care extends to anyone in custody, including those held in jail pending trial. As a plaintiff, the inmate has to demonstrate that the prison or jail knew of the medical issue in question and intentionally ignored it.
Possible liability isn’t limited to the officials in charge of the jail or prison. Since medical care is sometimes delegated to private corporations, these companies can be considered liable as well. The goal of an experienced attorney will be to hold all potentially responsible parties accountable.
A civil rights lawyer also understands that building a case requires more than finding evidence of the prison or jail’s wrongdoing. Proving a denial of medical care claim usually involves input from an expert witness. This individual can explain whether a decision or course of action taken by the responsible party, or parties, was appropriate under the circumstances.
Finally, you need an attorney who understands what to look for in terms of damages. Denial of medical care typically causes numerous health complications. Sometimes these problems are experienced while in custody. But there are also cases in which an inmate has issues after leaving prison or jail. Medical expenses, pain and suffering, and emotional distress are common damages to demand in these lawsuits.
Contact Our Denial Of Prison Medical Care Attorney
Winning a denial of prison medical care case is no simple matter. You deserve the dedication of an aggressive civil rights law firm that knows what it takes to hold prisons, jails, and other parties liable. At Hale & Monico, we explore all legal options and work for the justice our clients deserve. Call today to learn more.