If you have been the victim of abuse or your rights have been violated while you were a prison inmate, you can seek justice. You can do so by filing complaints and lawsuits against the at-fault party. On this page, I will discuss how to determine if you have a case, who to sue, and how to go through the lawsuit process. By following this information, you can protect yourself, receive compensation, and prevent others from suffering the same issues that you have.
Do You Have a Case?
Before you get too far into a complaint or lawsuit, you should first determine if you have a case and how strong it is. In order for you to bring a grievance against a prison or correctional officer, your rights need to be violated, and this must result in injury, illness, discrimination, or another negative issue. Check the other pages in this section to learn more about prisoner rights and specific situations where your rights are violated. Also keep the following guiding principles in mind if you want to file a lawsuit. In order to have a successful case, you need to prove:
- The correctional facility or officer had a duty of care towards you.
- The facility or officer breached their duty of care.
- The negligence and breach of duty displayed by the correctional facility or the officer resulted in an injury.
If you can prove these three things, you will likely have a strong case and you will increase your chances of having a favorable outcome.
Who Should You Sue?
If you feel that you have been treated unlawfully or your rights have been violated in prison, you may want to file a lawsuit. But who do you file a lawsuit against? Ultimately, you need to determine who is responsible for your poor treatment. Were you harmed because of a prison policy? If so, you may consider suing the facility itself. Did a correctional officer break protocol and harm you? In this situation, the officer alone may be responsible for their actions.
Keep in mind that every situation is different, and the at-fault party will differ depending on the specifics that you have experienced. It is a good idea to contact an attorney and discuss your situation with them. A lawyer can help you determine who is at-fault and who to sue.
Steps to Take to Protect Yourself
The first thing that you should do if you believe that your prisoner rights have been violated is file a grievance with the correctional facility. A grievance is a formal complaint. Filing grievances usually has to happen in a short period of time after an incident, so make sure that you meet all of the necessary deadlines.
You should also gather evidence to prove that you have been assaulted or discriminated against in some way. Keep written records of what happened and copies of your complaints to the correctional facility. Also try to see if witnesses would be willing to make a statement on your behalf.
After filing a grievance, you may be able to file a lawsuit as well. Again, this will depend on your specific situation.
One of the best things that you can do if you want to file a lawsuit is to hire a lawyer to help you. Having a lawyer on your side can ensure that you present the strongest case and that you have support throughout this process. My firm is happy to help you – just contact our office and we can set up a free consultation.