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All American citizens, whether incarcerated or otherwise, are guaranteed freedom and protection from “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The United States Supreme Court, in 1976, affirmed that these protections extend to the right to “adequate medical care” for prisoners within any county, state, or federal penitentiary.
Problematically, oftentimes public and private medical providers within the United States prison and jail systems fall short and, either purposefully or as a matter of limited resources, fail to provide patients (inmates) with adequate care or act negligently in regard to treating pre-existing and newly onset medical conditions. In many cases, incarcerated individuals are subjected to limited access to often substandard care, deliberate indifference by healthcare providers, and serious instances of medical malpractice which result in significant and preventable personal injuries, including death while incarcerated. Regardless of the justification for such action, failure to provide inmates with adequate medical care and reasonable access to such care is a violation of the United States Constitution and other United States law.
For victims of inadequate care, medical malpractice or negligence in administering medical care while incarcerated, there are a variety of protections and remedies in place under state and federal law, depending upon the circumstances leading to injury. The most common forms of legal action in these cases are state-level tort law medical malpractice and negligence claims against the Department of Corrections, local or county jail, or private prison healthcare provider. Extreme instances of injury resulting from reckless disregard and/or deliberate indifference to an inmate’s health or safety are subject to federal civil rights actions, with a significantly higher evidentiary standard.
Common examples of prison medical malpractice and negligence include:
Prison medical malpractice claims follow the same procedure as typical medical malpractice and negligence litigation, however, are unique in their challenges in identifying defendants (as healthcare in prison is often provided by an assortment of publicly and privately contracted physicians, nurses and mental health workers subject to different caps and immunities), overcoming juries lack of empathy for incarcerated plaintiffs (and their estates), and the financial burden of the need for expert testimony on prison healthcare and the review of often substandard prison recordkeeping.
While these challenges and the procedures governing prison medical malpractice and jail negligence claims are unique to each state’s laws and judicial environment, it is universally recommended that these claims be filed and litigated by an experienced and qualified prison medical malpractice trial attorney who can get you the award you deserve.
The highly qualified and dedicated team of trial attorneys at Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC has extensive experience litigating jail and prison medical malpractice and negligence claims on behalf of victims in all 50 states of the United States. Regardless of whether the malpractice happened in Oregon or Washington, we can help you seek justice.
Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC’s actions have resulted in victories against the nation’s largest for-profit correctional healthcare providers and awards worth upwards of $10 million. If a loved one or someone you know has been the victim of medical malpractice or negligence while incarcerated, contact Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC at (503) 226-6361 or fill out our online intake form today for your free case evaluation.
Settlement for a delay in diagnosing cancer, which resulted in death.
Judgment for the estate of a 26-year-old incarcerated female suffering opiate withdrawal who was denied medical assistance resulting in death
$3.55 million dollar settlement for surgical error.
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