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Can i sue a county jail for my sons death caused by methadone

Monroe, WI |

My 17 year old son was in jail since 9/27/2012 and passed away on 01/30/2013. The autopsy showed he had methadone in his system. He was not prescribed this medication. The inmates had complained to the gaurds that my son was sick and vomiting the night before and they did not get him medical treatment.

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Attorney answers 8


It is impossible to tell from the information you have posted here. You may have a case, but you will need to meet with an attorney who specializes in civil rights cases.


Absolutely, but you will need to expend some time and effort to locate the right attorney for this type of case. I'm going to edit the Practice Area of your question to "Civil Rights" to bring it to the attention of lawyers that specialize in this area of civil law. Most will offer you a free consultation. Take advantage of that opportunity to speak privately and confidentially with one or more (better) lawyers who are experienced civil litigators with experience in suing government agencies. Interview as many as necessary to locate one with the needed skills and experience with whom you are comfortable. Do not rush to hire the first one you talk to, and good luck. I'm very sorry for your loss.

William G Blair

William G Blair


While you shouldn't wait before finding a lawyer, you should also do three things as soon as possible: 1) gather and copy all of your and your son's documents relating to his drug use and treatment, history of convictions, etc.; 2) make a public record request to the jail for their entire custody, medical, and inmate history files on your son; 3) gather all documents you can concerning his medical expenses, funeral expenses, income history, etc. You need not have all of these documents before you talk to a lawyer, but everything you can pull together will help.


Yes you can. You need to get his file from the jail. Also, names of witnesses that observed him sick. Which county jail?


Based on the VERY limited information that you have provided, yes--you might have a claim. You need to contact a local civil rights attorney as soon as possible. Furthermore, I'm sorry for your loss.


I am sorry for your loss. Losing a child under any circumstances is any parent's worst nightmare.

You may have a claim.

While failure to comply with state notice of claim statutes can not bar a subsequent federal civil rights claim, to keep all of your options on the table, including state law claims, a notice of circumstances of claim needs to be filed within 120 days of the incident giving rise to the claim, which in this case, is your son's death. You should schedule a confidential consult with an attorney as soon as practical.

This answer is provided for general information only. No legal advice can be given without a consult as to the specifics of the case.


I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. Depending upon the state, governmental agencies may be protected by governmental immunity. However, in the event there is a private health care provider contracted by the jail, there may be responsibility on the part of the health care provider. It is difficult to advise on this without further specifics, including the autopsy report. We have worked with similar issues regarding inmates’ access to appropriate healthcare and would be available to discuss your situation.

My answering this question does not mean that I am your attorney. This post is intended to provide some helpful insight into your particular situation, but it should not be taken as legal advice. It is recommended that you speak to an attorney in detail regarding your case. I am licensed to practice law in several states, which may not include your state. The laws of your jurisdiction may differ. Please remember that legal proceedings involve deadlines and statutory time limiting statutes. Our firm generally offers free case evaluation. 713-222-6464, or visit us on the web at


I am sorry for your loss. You should retain counsel immediately to review the facts and circumstances of your son's passing. If you would like help in reviewing this matter, feel free to contact me. (715)343-2850. I wish you all the best.


I am so sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, privacy laws may prohibit you from finding out whether your son was on methadone legally and for some unknown reason to you. Often a suit must be brought for a HIPPA Order to be entered that would allow you access to any medical records. Contact a local attorney who specializes in wrongful death claims and/or civil rights.

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