Inmates have a right to seek compensation when they are denied adequate medical care
Whether imprisoned in a county jail, one of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections State Prisons, or one of the federal correctional facilities at Allenwood, Lewisburg, Loretto, McKean or Schuylkill, every inmate has a right to adequate care. Unfortunately, many times this constitutional right is violated - sometimes out of malice or retaliation, but often simply because of the prison staff’s indifference to the inmate’s serious medical needs.
When an inmate is denied adequate medical care, he or she has a right to seek compensation for the pain, suffering, and the long term impact of the inadequate care. There are two types of claims which an inmate can sue for in court seeking payment for this injustice - for “deliberate indifference,” or for “negligence.” Both claims, if successful, entitle an inmate to money damages for all of the harm caused by the lack of medical care. This harm can include not only pain and suffering, but humiliation, loss of future earning capacity, and loss of ability to participate in activities, play sports or exercise.
Deliberate indifference claims exist when a prison official violates the obligation to provide adequate medical care, by 1) knowing that a inmate had a serious medical need, and 2) a prison official denies a reasonable request for medical treatment, and the official knows that the denial exposes the inmate to a substantial risk of pain or permanent injury; a prison official knows that an inmate needs medical treatment, and intentionally refuses to provide that treatment; a prison official knows that an inmate needs medical treatment, and delays the medical treatment for non-medical reasons; a prison official knows that an inmate needs medical treatment, and imposes arbitrary and burdensome procedures that result in delay or denial of the treatment; a prison official knows that an inmate needs medical treatment, and refuses to provide that treatment unless the inmate is willing and able to pay for it; a prison official refuses to let an inmate see a doctor capable of evaluating the need for treatment of an inmate’s serious medical need; a prison official persists in a particular course of treatment even though the official knows that the treatment is causing pain and creating a risk of permanent injury.
Negligence claims, on the other hand, can be filed against any medical provider who fails to exercise reasonable care and that failure cause the person to suffer harm.
Winning any type of case against prison officials is difficult without the assistance of experienced attorneys. When your rights are violated, protect yourself with the experienced legal and medical team at the Mizner Law Firm. We fight everyday to protect the rights of Pennsylvania inmates.