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When You Need a Prisoner Medical Malpractice Attorney in Florida

A prisoner medical malpractice attorney in Florida can help you or a loved one win justice after malpractice or neglect. Find out how the right lawyer will help you seek damages for mistreatment and win the justice you deserve.

Prisoners, though incarcerated, are entitled to many of the same basic rights as free citizens. Though they lose some of their rights because of crimes they committed, prisoners are still people too. They deserve fair treatment. 

No matter what someone has done, most people can agree that prisoners, and more so sick prisoners, should receive adequate medical care while they serve their sentences. Neglecting their medical needs goes against who we are as a country, and as humans. 

In 2002, 38.5% of the national prison inmate population suffered from a medical condition. That includes all federal, state, and local jails across the country. Considering the estimated 2.1 million people in prison, medical patients make up a large number.

If the numbers hold true today, thousands of medical patients are living in prisons. They still require a variety of medicines, treatments, and doctor visits to treat their conditions. 

Think about a diabetic serving a sentence for a drug arrest or a patient with Crohn’s disease doing time for theft. These people made a mistake. It doesn’t mean they don’t deserve proper medical care. 

How Prisoner Medical Malpractice & Neglect Happen

Unfortunately, prisoner medical malpractice and neglect happen more than you think. In a 2004 survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, prisons reported that 44% of state inmates and 39% of federal inmates reported a medical problem other than a virus or cold. Of those, over 70% of inmates reported seeking professional medical care. 

Conditions in the country’s prisons and available medical care range widely. Some do a good job, and others fail miserably. Some prisons sit in rural areas where access to certain types of medical care is harder to come by. 

But where the prisoner serves time and whether there is a physician in the area is not up to them. They don’t decide to serve time somewhere with poor medical care. It’s up to the federal government, the state, or whoever is sentencing them.

Medical malpractice and neglect happen in many ways. Some of them include:

Symptoms go untreated 

When a prisoner shows symptoms of a medical condition, they deserve treatment. When prison authorities, government officials, police, or any other part notices symptoms and fails to treat them, this can constitute neglect.  

In one 2018 Connecticut case, the state paid an ex-inmate $1.3 million after his subcutaneous lymphoma was treated as psoriasis for over three years.

Withheld Care

An unfortunate reality of prison life is that sometimes care is withheld on purpose. Occasionally you have authorities who want to, “teach the inmate a lesson” and withhold care even though they know the prisoner needs it. They can purposefully withhold medicines they need or refuse to let them see a doctor. 

Referral Failures

Usually, an inmate will see a generalist and discuss their condition and any symptoms they are experiencing. The physician may refer them to a specialist for further testing or some specific treatment protocol. Sometimes, though, referrals are withheld, and the prisoner fails to get proper treatment. 

Lack of Timely Care

Prisoners, just like any other medical patient, deserve timely care. When the prison system, or an individual, denies them timely care out of spite, neglect, or any other reason, it’s a breach of medical practice. 

In 2005, a Florida family received a $3 million settlement after their inmate relative died in treatment. The inmate, who had a history of tuberculosis, exhibited pneumonia symptoms in the infirmary for five days before going into shock and dying.

Misdiagnosis

People serving time in prison get sick just like the rest of us. They get cancer, or they have heart attacks. Appendicitis, broken bones, strokes, and any other medical issue you can think of happen in prisons. Just like misdiagnosis can happen in your local doctor’s office or pharmacy, it can happen inside of a prison. 

These are just a few examples of the medical malpractice that sometimes occurs if an inmate doesn’t have access to the right treatments. The wrong treatments or the lack of treatment altogether can cause serious harm to any patient whether or not they are in prison. 

Assigning Liability with a Prisoner Medical Malpractice Attorney in Florida

A prisoner medical malpractice attorney in Florida can help you assign liability to responsible parties. That’s a big part of building a successful neglect or malpractice case. 

It’s easy to think that the prison authorities are ultimately responsible for any medical neglect involving prisoners. That may certainly be the case, but many prisoner malpractice cases are much more complicated. 

Often, prisons have contracts with private entities and companies that provide medical care at Florida prisons and jails. They, when it happens, own some degree of liability.

Some private prison and jail health companies include:

  • Armor Correctional Health Services, Inc. 
  • Corizon Correctional Healthcare
  • Centurion
  • Centene Corporation
  • NaphCare, Inc.
  • Correct Care Solutions
  • Wexford Health Sources
  • Advanced Correctional Healthcare
  • Southern Health Partners
  • MHM Services, Inc.
  • PrimeCare Medical, Inc.
  • CorrectHealth, LLC

These are only some of the medical services providers in Florida prisons and jails. Any responsible party who neglects to give care or engages in any form of malpractice with prisoners must face justice. 

Building a Case With a Prisoner Medical Malpractice Attorney in Florida

Proving a case of malpractice or neglect inside a Florida prison is a challenge. Witnesses are hard to come by sometimes, and there are administrative challenges with regard to access. 

An experienced attorney knows, however, how to build a malpractice or a neglect case. They do this despite challenging conditions. They know ways to gather evidence and build a record of what happened to prove your case. 

Finding the right attorney and legal team is crucial to winning your case or reaching a fair settlement that covers medical costs as well as pain and suffering related to the medical condition. 

The Impact of Medical Neglect & Malpractice in Prisons

Prisons and jail time are an unfortunate reality of our society. When people make serious enough mistakes, they face severe consequences. 

For most prisoners, living in a prison is enough of a hardship. There are difficulties inside of a prison that is hard for most people to imagine. Prisons restrict freedom, prevent people from spending time with loved ones, and take away opportunities. 

This is not to say that people don’t deserve to be in prison. Laws exist for a reason. They help keep order in society and ensure everyone has equal access to rights and privileges. When people break the law, they go to prison. 

Prison is the punishment, though. Medical malpractice or neglect such as withholding prescription medications are not. People in prison have a right to adequate medical care provided by the prison or approved contractors. 

When the system fails and neglect or malpractice occur, the consequences are often dire. Patients who fail to receive medication, for instance, can become sick and die. Their symptoms often persist and cause them extreme pain and discomfort. 

Occasionally, prisoners leave prison and struggle with chronic medical issues for the rest of their lives. It impacts their ability to work and places a heavy financial burden on their families. 

In one notorious case from 2018, a Brevard County inmate died while in custody for violating probation. A lawsuit claimed the inmate developed symptoms of enterocolitis and possibly bowel obstruction. He experienced severe pain and fatigue. The lawsuit alleges the nursing staff did not assess or address his symptoms. Two days before the inmate died, an LPN said his breath smelled like fecal matter. Around a day later, he went to a hospital where he died. 

When this happens, you need an experienced attorney who will fight for justice. 

Working With a Prisoner Medical Malpractice Attorney in Florida

A seasoned Florida attorney with experience representing clients in prisons will know what to do. 

First of all, you must find a lawyer who has years of experience working prisoner medical neglect cases. Too much is at stake. Search for a lawyer with a proven track record of winning judgments and settlements for prisoners. 

When you talk to lawyers, ask them about past cases and outcomes. Inquire about settlement amounts and how long their case took

They’ll work aggressively to file lawsuits and begin settlement negotiations to win damages to cover medical expenses and the trauma caused by neglect or malpractice. 

How Leighton Law Helps Victims of Prison Medical Malpractice & Neglect

Leighton Law specializes in these cases. We have extensive experience representing individuals and families of Florida inmates who are victims of malpractice and neglect. If you believe that you or a family member were mistreated, abused, or experienced malpractice while incarcerated, we can help. Our attorneys will review the circumstances surrounding the situation and help you plan the best next steps. 

Talk to us about how we can help you win damages to pay for mistreatment and neglect. Get the support you deserve to help pay for long-term medical care. We offer no-obligation consultations to discuss the details of your case

Article by:

John Leighton

A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite

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