If you have a loved one serving time in a prison or jail, you are likely concerned about their well being. Will they receive proper medical attention, will their rights be respected, and how will their mental health fare? These are just a few of the questions that you may have. Unfortunately, some people do pass away in prison. If you have a loved one who died in prison, you may feel that foul play was involved and someone is at-fault. On this page, I will go into greater detail regarding inmate rights, situations where Department of Corrections (DOC) workers are obligated to protect inmates, and what to do if you suspect that wrongful death occurred.
What is Wrongful Death in Prison?
Wrongful death occurs when someone dies because of the negligence of someone else. Wrongful death may happen as a result of a car cash, a surgery gone wrong, or, for our purposes, because a DOC worker or the government did not provide proper resources and protection for those in their ward. A few common wrongful death situations in prison include:
- Use of excessive force by a DOC worker, including illegal use of tasers, chokeholds, etc.
- Failure to provide proper medical assistance to an inmate in need.
- Death as a result of improper drug withdrawal.
- Failure to properly monitor and help inmates on suicide watch.
- Failure to provide proper mental health services.
- Failure to provide and properly administer medication.
- Unnecessary delays in medical health during an emergency.
- Failure to recognize and stop violence among inmates.
In these situations and other similar situations, a DOC worker or the government itself may be responsible for the death of an inmate. You will have to prove a few elements in order to have a legitimate wrongful death claim.
Proving Wrongful Death
In order to prove wrongful death, you need to prove a few important elements. These are:
- Duty and subsequent breach of duty: You need to prove that the defendant had a duty towards the victim and that they breached this duty, resulting in an accident that caused death. In this case, DOC workers, prisons, and the government have a duty to protect the life and liberty of their wards.
- Negligence: You need to prove that the defendant acted in a reckless or negligent manner.
- Causation: You need to prove that the negligence of the defendant caused the accident which resulted in death.
If you think that you have a wrongful death case, don’t wait. You should get started on your case as soon as possible, since there is a statute of limitations which at some point will bar you from bringing a lawsuit against the at-fault party. To ensure that you don’t have a problem with the statute of limitations, contact a lawyer as soon as possible and get started on your wrongful death claim.
Our Firm Can Help
Whether you are dealing with a civil rights violation, a wrongful death claim, or both, our office can help. We have seen cases like this before and we can help you determine the best way to proceed in your situation. No amount of money can heal the hurt that your family has experienced, but together, we can seek justice for your loved one and protect future generations of inmates from violence and negligence. Contact us today so that we can get started seeking the justice that your family deserves.