County jails and state prisons in South Carolina were designed to be places were inmates could serve their sentences and rehabilitate their lives in a secure and safe place. For many prisoners, though, these facilities are a far cry from this supposed purpose. Inmates’ obvious medical needs are often ignored, and they may be subjected to unnecessary physical force.
If this kind of maltreatment has caused harm to you or a family member, you should know that you have legal rights and options that a knowledgeable personal injury attorney could help you take advantage of. By contacting a skilled Charleston prison abuse lawyer, you could learn more about to stop prison abuse and neglect, as well as the compensation you could be entitled to under state tort laws and United States federal law.
State Tort Claims for Prison Abuse
No matter what they may be accused of, inmates in jail have legal and civil rights. Among others, they have a right to protection and to receive medical care when they need it. Unfortunately, guards and other jail or prison staff do not always act appropriately to uphold these rights.
It is not uncommon for prisoners to be neglected and abused by staff in county jails and prisons. In far too many situations, inmates are subjected to medical neglect, an excessive force from guards that may include unwarranted beatings and gassings, and inmate stabbings due to negligent security. Prisoners and family members affected by this type of mistreatment may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim or a state tort claim with the help of a Charleston prison abuse attorney.
Filing Section 1983 Lawsuits
An additional pathway to pursue compensation for injuries suffered while incarcerated in a county jail or in the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) is for the plaintiff to file what is colloquially known as a “Section 1983” lawsuit. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S. Code §1983 gives civilians and inmates the legal right to pursue damages under federal law if an employee of a state or local law enforcement agency acts in a manner which deprives them of their rights. Abuse within a prison is a prime example of this, and an experienced lawyer in Charleston could work to file a Section 1983 claim against the individual employee(s) who violated the plaintiff’s rights.
Available Damages in Prison Abuse Cases
The best outcome for a plaintiff and their attorney in a prison abuse case is a fair settlement or a jury verdict in their favor with financial compensation. Settlements and jury awards are calculated by accounting for how the plaintiff has suffered financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Compensatory damages could be awarded to the plaintiff for these types of life changes after abuse in the prison system.
Compensatory damages are based on how badly the plaintiff is injured, whereas punitive damages are based on how severe the actions of the defendant are. Punitive damages, as the word implies, are meant to punish the defendant rather than make up for the plaintiff’s losses. If the jury finds that the defendant’s actions are egregious and/or exceeding reasonable explanation, they may award punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages.
Schedule a Consultation with a Charleston Prison Abuse Attorney
If you suffer damages from prison abuse or neglect, legal help is available. Do not delay in reaching out to a seasoned Charleston prison abuse lawyer, as your rights to file a lawsuit and pursue compensation are time-sensitive. Call today to get started on your case.