The Constitution of the United States requires that prisons, jails, and detention centers do not impose unnecessary risks to the safety and health of persons in custody. They are obligated to implement safety measures and safeguards to protect those under their supervision and care.
When someone dies as a result of the failure of prison management or employees to protect the welfare and safety of the person in prison, whether an inmate or pre-trial detainee, those officials may be held legally responsible for the misconduct leading to the death. The types of misconduct involved can include failing to keep an inmate protected from one or more other violent inmates, failing to properly provide or administer medication, and failing to observe a suicide watch.
Wrongful death in prison due to inadequate medical treatment
Prisons and jails may not hold back needed medical care from those in custody. They may not delay their necessary treatment. Such actions or lack of action shows a disregard for the rights of the one in custody. Sadly, too many inmates lose their lives from totally preventable medical conditions due to lack of medical care provided.
Wrongful death in prison due to negligence of staff
Even in cases when the correction staff of a prison or jail did not directly cause the death of your loved one, they may still be held accountable for the death. The failure on their part comes about by not protecting your loved one from outside harm. The Supreme Court of the United States recognizes the duty to protect incumbent upon prison officials regarding those in their custody. If a doctor, nurse, or correctional officer in a prison had knowledge that your loved one was at risk but did not to protect him or her, the staffer may be held liable under the law. These reasons can include:
- Failure to protect inmates at risk for suicide
- Toxic exposure
- Death of inmates due to drug withdrawal
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Excessive force
- Fatal vehicle crashes during transport
Recoverable damages for wrongful death of a loved one in prison
The facts of a particular case will determine the amount of recoverable damages, including the level of neglect or abuse involved leading to the death. If your loved one died in a private prison, the staff and institutions are not covered by qualified immunity laws. The laws and rules are different when suing the State or Federal government, however, so you should call us immediately for help.
The loss of a loved one is never easy. The loss is particularly tragic when it is caused by the intentional negligence or indifference or abuse by a person in a position of authority. If you have a wrongful death claim to pursue due to the loss of your loved one who was in custody, or was serving as an inmate in Alabama, we are here to help. Our in-custody wrongful death attorneys at Mezrano Law Firm can review your case and fight for justice for you. To arrange a free consultation, give us a call today at 205.206.6300 or complete our contact form. We maintain offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Florence, Gadsden, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa.