ON NOV.5 2008 MY STEPSON DIED WHILE AN INMATE IN RIKERS ISLAND NY, WE WERE SHOWN A PICTURE TO I D HIM. HE HAD A GASH ON HIS FOREHEAD AND HIS NOSE,AND EYES WERE ALL SWOLLEN. IT WAS VERY HARD TO ID HIM FROM THE POCTURE AND IT HAD TO BE DONE IN PERSON. MY QUESTION IS HOW CAN I FIND OUT THE TRUTH OF WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM AND CAN ANYONE FILE A LAWSUIT FOR UNLAWFUL DEATH IN HIS BEHALf? ALSO IF WE HIRE A LAWYER WILL HE WANT AN INDEPENDENT AUTOSPY? I HOPE YOU CAN ANSWER VERY SOON AS THE FAMILY WANTS TO HAVE A SERVICE AND CREMATE HIM. THANK TOU, THERESA FERRUGIA
Federal Crime Lawyer
You may have a good law suit or you may not, yes a lawyer may want an independant autopsy depending on what the original one said caused the death. Further, while the damages are pretty bad, without any information to the contrary, it is hard to sustain a case against the jail if the guards didn't cause his injuries. An investigation will be needed.
It is unlikely that someone would take this on a contingency basis and you will probably need a pretty good sized retainer as Congress changed the law regarding the payment of legal fees and it is not likely that a lawyer would take a chance on not collecting his full fee after a trial in a case like this.
I am so very sorry for the loss of your stepson, Good luck.
Car / Auto Accident Lawyer
Theresa, There may be some case but it would be important to know what the incident report states. Most lawyers will not hire a pathologist to do an independent autopsy. I think it would be important to know in addition to what the other lawyer said would be what your stepson was in for, how long he was in for, what his record was and who were his next of kin(Did he have a wife and/or children)..This is a very difficult time for your family. May you find peace at this unfortunate time.