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Can i sue the department of corrections

Clymer, PA |
Filed under: Personal injury

Previously i was at an institution (criminal) and had a blood vessel burst in the side of my head. it happened very close to my ear and caused my skin to peel away from the cartilage and fill with blood and fluid. i was refused a doctor for almost 2 months while my ear just became larger and exponentially more painful. i ended up lancing my own ear because i couldn't take the pain anymore. i was finally taken to a specialist after i lanced it and he was appalled. my ear has went improperly treated for so long that the fluid had eaten some of the cartilage away. i had to have surgery and now my ear is hideous. am i able to sue the department of corrections?

Attorney Answers 7


  1. There are very specific requirements for filing suit against the state. Check with a local PA attorney for these requirements. I successfully brought a similar suit under 42 USC 1983 and sounding in medical malpractice in Federal Court against the State of New York Department of Corrections and the physicians who ignored/refused to treat my client's multiple abscesses. There are all sorts of questions about qualified immunity and other complicated issues surrounding such a suit, but the most important are the statutory conditions precedent to suit against the State. Don't worry about fees, though, because aside from contingent fee arrangements, under 42 USC 1988, the court can award fees payable by the losing defendants.

    Good Luck and Happy New Year. Consult a PA attorney ASAP.

    We are Serious lawyers for the Seriously injured. I am a co-author of WEITZ ON AUTOMOBILE LITIGATION: THE NO FAULT HANDBOOK. The opinions expressed in this answer are not legal advice. These opinions are thoughts based on New York practice. We have no attorney-client relationship. Conducting a conversation with me through the avvo comments section does not create an attorney-client relationship. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future performance.


  2. You may have a case but beware of strict deadlines in such a case and consult a local civil rights attorney


  3. If this wasn't a government agency involved this seems like a clear case of medical malpractice. The fact that a government agency involved complicates the case because of sovereign immunity priciples. The government has immunity with the only exceptions granted by statute passed by the legislature waiving immunity in particular cases. I am not sure, without checking the statutes, that there is an exception that covers medical malpractice but I have to think that there is. The other option is a civil rights suit, for which sovereign immunity would not apply. You should discuss this matter with a medical malpractice lawyer AND a civil rights attorney.


  4. If you are in a federal prison you may have the basis for a federal tort claim under the Federal Tort Claim Act (FTCA) in addition to a possible 1983 claim as Mr Weitz describes. If in state court your remedies may be both state and federal. Keep in mind that the FTCA has strict time periods and presuit notice requirements, initiated by a form SF-95. Talk to a good lawyer immediately.

    LEGAL ADVICE: Unless you have retained me as your attorney, and I am currently engaged by you and providing you with legal advice and services, nothing in this post is intended to be, nor may it be construed as, legal advice.


  5. Retain a local Clymer area civil rights lawyer with experience in 1983 claims and FTCA claims to investigate.


  6. This is terrible. I am sorry it happened to you. Whether you can sue depends on a number of circumstances. You need to communicate with a malpractice lawyer asap, because there are serious limitations when it comes to suing the government.

    Ask someone outside of prison to find a lawyer to have a consultation with you. The consult should be free.

    I am licensed in Pennsylvania. Members of my firm are licensed in various states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. We handle cases involving personal injury (car accidents slip and falls, etc.,) medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, workers' compensation and social security disability. This post is not legal advice, but instead contains general educational information. Please do not act or refrain from acting based upon what you read in this post. Also please remember that this post does not form an attorney/client relationship between you and me. If you have specific legal questions, you should contact an attorney in your state for assistance.


  7. I am handling a very similar case against the Allegheny county jail. Negligence is not enough. It is necessary to show "deliberate indifference" to your medical needs. Some of the comments you made seem to rise to that level. The claim is typically filed as a civil rights claim under section 1983 alleging a violation of the Eight and Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Certainly not a claim you can handle on your own.

    If you feel this is the "best" answer or is "helpful," please indicate. Since I am limited to the information you provide, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the answer. You should seek the advise of an attorney who can explore all aspects of your question. This communication does not form an attorney client relationship.

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