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