Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit While IncarceratedAugust 29, 2019
Prison inmates lose certain freedoms while they are incarcerated, but they are still entitled to proper medical care if they become injured or ill while they are in prison. Too often, however, inmates receive substandard care, or they are ignored entirely by nurses, physicians, and mental health workers who work at correctional facilities. If a prisoner does not receive the basic medical care that they deserve, they may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against the correctional facility. A skilled medical malpractice lawyer will review the case and recommend the best legal course of action, ensuring that the inmate’s rights are protected.
Malpractice lawsuits that are filed by prison inmates do not often reach successful settlements. However, there is a high rate of medical negligence inside prisons. The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects inmates from any cruel and inhuman punishment. If an inmate files a claim under the Eighth Amendment, they must prove that the defendant intentionally provided substandard care to reach a successful civil rights claim. If the case involves negligence, the inmate can seek damages by filing a medical malpractice claim.
Determining Who is At-Fault
If a prisoner files a medical malpractice lawsuit, one of the main challenges is identifying the defendant in the case. In some cases, the health care provider is employed by the state or county, or they may have a contract with a prison or jail. Correctional facilities often outsource their health care providers to private corporations that specialize in providing health care services to correctional facilities. These doctors, nurses, social workers, and counselors are employed by the corporation. The malpractice lawsuit may involve a single provider or a combination of providers.
For an inmate to have a chance of reaching a successful claim, there needs to be clear evidence of gross negligence. If a health care provider knew that a prisoner had a serious medical condition and refused treatment, knowing that the refusal of treatment could have serious consequences, this is considered deliberate indifference. The following are examples of deliberate indifference:
- Failure to recognize a heart attack
- Failure to treat broken bones after a fight or injury occurred at the facility
- Failure to treat an emergency condition because the health care provider believes that the inmate is lying
- Failure to protect an inmate who is at risk of suicide
- Failure to refer an inmate to a specialist if further treatment is needed
- Failure to continue providing prescription medication due to cost
- Failure to treat inmate having a severe asthma attack
- Failure to recognize and treat symptoms of withdrawal from drugs or alcohol
- Failure to treat a hernia that could strangulate the inmate’s bowel
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Medical Negligence
If you or a loved one received substandard medical care while incarcerated, you are urged to contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. You are entitled to receive proper medical care if you are injured or become ill while incarcerated. Our skilled legal team will protect your rights and hold the negligent party responsible for your illness or injury. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.