Jail Wrongful Death and Jail Personal Injury Cases
Each and every year, media stories report incidents in which bereaved family members are taking legal action in response to loved ones dying in custody while being held in jails across the United States. In a striking number of cases, individuals die while locked in jail due to negligent or reckless conduct by staff members. In addition, there are cases in which people die while incarcerated because of abusive conduct by jail staff members. The most recent high-profile case concerns a woman named Sandra Bland.
In addition to individuals dying while locked up, thousands of incidents are reported annually regarding injuries sustained by persons in jail. Oftentimes, the injuries sustained are significant.
A jail personal injury attorney or a jail wrongful death lawyer likely has a number of sad tales to tell about incarcerated individuals injured or killed because of negligence or wrongful conduct by staff members. The vast majority of people housed in a jail have yet to be found guilty of a crime. While a legal reason may exist to house a person in jail, no bona fide justification exists for an individual in this position being subjected to neglect or abuse by jail staff.
The Disturbing Case of Sandra Bland
Sandra Bland was pulled over for a routine traffic stop by a Texas State Trooper named Brian Encinia. The State Trooper filed a false arrest warrant that inaccurately stated Bland was combative at the time he pulled her over. The false affidavit led to Bland's arrest on what truly were trumped-up charges.
When an investigation into the case commenced, the State Trooper's false arrest warrant was discovered. He was fired and charged with perjury. However, the commencement of this process was too late for Bland.
After her arrest, Bland was found dead in her jail cell. The Waller County Jail announced that Bland hung herself in her jail cell. Her family quickly refuted the contention that Bland killed herself.
An investigation was opened and a jail wrongful death lawsuit filed by Bland's family. Ultimately, the Bland family received a $1.9 million settlement in the jail wrongful death case.
Death in Jail and State Prison Statistics
The last year in which data is available regarding death in jails and state prisons in 2013, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. A total 4,446 died in custody that year, which represented an increase of 131 deaths over 2012. In the final analysis, an unknown number of these deaths was due to negligence or other misconduct by jail or state prison staff. The Deaths in Custody Reporting Program requires the maintenance of this date.
Death in Federal Prison Statistics
The Federal Bureau of Prisons is not subject to the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program. Nonetheless, between approximately 350 and 400 die in federal correctional custody annually. As is the case with state and local statistics, there is not specific data on inmate deaths associated with staff negligence or other misconduct. Moreover, the last year for which a complete recapitulation of data is available is 2008.
Negligent Inmate Classification
One area in which jail or prison staff can be negligent involves the inmate classification process. The inmate classification process, on the local, state, and federal level is designed to ensure that violent inmates are kept apart from the general population. Time and again, correctional facilities fail in this crucial task. The net effect is that low-risk, non-violent incarcerated individuals end up inappropriately in contact with individuals with a propensity for violence.
These low-risk offenders oftentimes end up being injured or even killed because of this type of inmate classification snafu. Grounds very well may exists for a jail wrongful death or jail personal injury claim in this type of situation.
Negligent Jail Intake Process
Television is awash in "real life" programming that includes a close-up look at penal institutions. These shows frequently profile what they describe as being the most dangerous part of a jail: the intake office.
In the intake area of a jail, people are being brought in off the street, just arrested and in a majority of cases, under the influence of mind-altering substances. A negligence claim can arise when jailers do not take reasonable steps to segregate inmates, even in an intake setting.
Intake dangers also exists on the state and federal level. However, by the time an inmate reaches this level of incarceration, there tends to be more information about an offender and at least some degree of separation has already been in place at least for some period of time.
Compensation in a Jail Wrongful Death Case
The nature of compensation in a jail wrongful death case depends on the specific facts and circumstances at hand. Common types of losses for which a family can seek compensation include:
- loss of companionship
- loss of consortium
- funeral expenses
- lost income
- emotional distress
Compensation in a Jail Personal Injury Case
A person injured in a jail, state correctional institution, or federal prison may be entitled to different types of compensation, depending on the facts of his or her case. Typically types of compensation in a jail personal injury case includes:
- medical bills
- pain and suffering
- permanent disability
- emotional distress
Retain a Jail Wrongful Death or Jail Personal Injury Lawyer
The Doan Law Firm maintains jail wrongful death and jail personal injury attorneys on its experienced, tenacious legal team. The jail negligence attorneys at the firm understand the unique needs of family members who lost a loved one while incarcerated as well as of jailed individuals injured because of institutional negligence.
An attorney from The Doan Law Firm will schedule an initial consultation in regard to a jail negligence case at no cost. The Doan Law Firm has offices across the United States.
An initial consultation can be scheduled by telephoning (800) 349-0000. The telephone line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, including on all major holidays.