Our Michigan jail rights lawyers represent the families of prisoners and inmates that have died while in a jail or prison. Many of these deaths are accidental or the result of suicide. The governmental unit responsible for the management of the jail or prison can be held legally accountable for the unexpected and wrongful death of an incarcerated person.
Statistics on Prison Deaths
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of inmate suicides is on a disturbing upward trend. The statistics show that:
- Local jail inmate deaths increased to 967 deaths in 2013.
- Suicides in local jails increased 9%, from to 2102in 2013.
- Suicides in state prisons went up 30% from 2013 to 2014.
Inmate Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
People in Michigan jails and prisons are entitled to appropriate medical care during the period of incarceration. Many prisoners have pre-existing medical conditions at the time of their imprisonment while others because ill or injured during their prison sentence. Under circumstance, the governmental agency or private company responsible for the facility are required to provide necessary medical treatment.
The injured prisoner or family can file a medical malpractice lawsuit when improper or no care is provided. These cases are based upon violations of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and other constitutional law claims. Damages and compensation are awarded to victims and families.
Common Reasons for Suicides in Jail
There are often specific warnings or warning signs that should cause correctional facilities to take required action to prevent a suicide death of an inmate. Many first time inmates experience a “shock of confinement” with fears and depression greater than someone who has previously been through the jail system. As a Michigan lawyer could explain, jail and prison suicide deaths occur for a number of reasons, but the most common include:
- Failure to protect, identify, and treat mentally ill prisoners
- Understaffed and untrained prison and jail personnel
- Failure to monitor inmates at high risk for suicide
- Physical assaults while imprisoned by other inmates
- Sexual assault while in custody by other inmates
- Taunting and intimidation by other prisoners
- Medication errors or refusal to provide necessary medications
- Failure or refusal to get psychiatric exams performed on high risk inmates
- Failure to consult with an inmates treating doctors or family members
Filing a Prisoner Lawsuit
Lawsuits can be filed against a governmental entity for the suicide death of a prisoner or inmate with the help of a Michigan attorney. Many correctional facilities are owned or managed by private companies under contract with the government and those companies can also be sued for the death of a prisoner in their facility.
The legal basis for these lawsuits is violations of both federal and state constitutional rights. Specifically, lawsuits allege violation of the Eight Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The cases seek a civil judgment under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Lawsuits allege that the government deprived the rights of the prisoner either maliciously or by acting with reckless disregard for whether an inmate’s rights were violated by prison officials. This reckless indifference to the health and safety of the prisoner resulted in the death of the inmate. Other allegations regarding civil rights violations are included in the lawsuits on behalf of the prisoner.
The surviving family members or an inmate who dies in prison or jail may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the government and prison officials. Typically, a family member will be appointed by the probate court to be the representative of the estate and to assist the civil attorney in the handling of the case. Other family members still have input in deciding whether to settle the case and how much each family member receives from the settlement.
What Are the Types of Compensation Available?
Inmate lawsuits seek compensation for the family members for the loss of the loved one. Compensation and damages in these cases can include:
- The loss of society and companionship of the loved one
- The pain and suffering prior to the death
- The loss of financial support, earnings, and economic benefits
- The loss of parenting and other household services
- Funeral and burial expenses
In some situations, there can be punitive and other significant damages awarded by the jury or judge deciding the award. Many cases also receive an award of attorney’s fees for the lawsuit.
Examples of Jail and Prison Death Settlements
Every inmate death case is completely different and the determination of a settlement or jury verdict depends on the facts of a specific case, as well as the skill of a Michigan attorney. Listed below are some examples of some settlements:
- $ 5,750,000 settlement for the death of a mentally ill inmate
- $ 5,000,000 settlement for the death of a jail detainee
- $ 4,000,000 settlement for the death of an inmate with mental health problems
- $ 2,300,000 settlement for the drug overdose death of a jail detainee
- $ 1,600,000 settlement for the suicide death of a jail inmate not properly supervised
- $ 1,000,000 settlement for a jail suicide wrongful death lawsuit
Contact Our Prisoner Rights Lawyers
Our experienced attorneys are here to help you and your family after a tragedy. Contact us today for your free, no-obligation consultation to tell us your story. If you have a case, we will start on it immediately.
Best of all, you can afford to have our legal team on your side without paying a single penny out of pocket. It costs absolutely nothing to get started, and if your case is unsuccessful for any reason, you owe us nothing.
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