Skip to Content

COVID-19 UPDATE: WE ARE OPEN! OUR TEAM IS WORKING AND OFFERING CONSULTATIONS VIA PHONE, E-MAIL, AND VIDEO CONFERENCING

COVID-19 UPDATE: WE ARE OPEN! OUR TEAM IS WORKING AND OFFERING CONSULTATIONS VIA PHONE, E-MAIL, AND VIDEO CONFERENCING

Back

Prison Attacks and Wrongful Death Claims

| Category: Wrongful Death | October 31, 2022

Prisons are violent, and inmates face the possibility of being attacked every day. Some of these attacks can be especially brutal and even result in the death of the victim. In these situations, the victim’s surviving family members may have a claim for compensation. You don’t have to listen to the people that it’s the fault of the inmates involved in the attack – contact a wrongful death lawyer to discuss whether you have a claim. 

Inmate vs. Inmate Violence Can Be Deadly

One inmate may attack another for a variety of reasons – it may be to settle a grudge or because the inmate was believed to be a member of a rival gang. The victim may have been accused of disrespecting the other inmate as a means of retribution. The assault may have even been the result of mental illness or emotional disturbance. The bottom line is that these attacks are typically sudden, without warning, and extremely violent. The assailant may have intended to kill the victim or at least cause very serious harm. 

Unfortunately, pursuing a wrongful death claim against the inmate will likely be unsuccessful for obvious reasons – it is highly unlikely that the inmate has the financial ability to pay any claim that is brought against them. Regardless, you should speak with a wrongful death lawyer to discuss whether there are other parties who may be held accountable. 

Is The Prison at Fault?

Prisons have a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to protect their inmates from harm. While the prison wasn’t involved in the attack and may have tried to break it up as quickly as possible, they may have failed in their obligation in other ways: 

  • They were aware of escalating tensions and failed to take action to diffuse the situation
  • Inadequate staffing of guards
  • Failure to search for deadly weapons or other implements
  • Inadequate safety protocols

While the prison itself may not have been involved, it’s not uncommon for guards to “look the other way” or even encourage violence among inmates. The prison may have failed to adequately screen their guards or discipline them for similar past behavior. 

Ultimately, the prison may be held liable in almost any of these situations, but proving your claim will not be easy. A wrongful death lawyer who has experience in handling inmate cases will know how to get the evidence you need to build a strong case. 

Sovereign Immunity Could Be an Issue

Government prisons (both state and federal) could be protected by sovereign immunity laws, which protect government entities from being sued. Sovereign immunity laws are rarely absolute but rather require claims to be pursued pursuant to specific procedures. These laws would not apply to privately owned prisons, but it can often be difficult to tell whether the institution is private or public. This is another reason why you should contact a wrongful death lawyer before attempting to pursue your claim. 

Contact Wrongful Death Lawyer Thomas E. Pyles to Discuss Your Case Today

The bottom line is that prisons are responsible for the safety of their inmates. If your loved one died in prison, The Law Offices of Thomas E. Pyles can review your case and determine whether you might have a wrongful death claim. Contact us today at 301-705-5006 to schedule a free consultation.