Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
While inmates in prisons and jails across the country have many rights stripped from them, they still have basic human rights that should be protected. Prison guards and staff often have immense authority and discretion regarding how to treat inmates, and many choose to abuse this power by harming the inmates under their supervision.
If you or a loved one was abused or injured by prison guards or staff members in a correctional facility anywhere in the U.S., call The Law Office of Andrew Shubin. Andrew Shubin is an attorney for injuries sustained from prison guards and staff, and he fights to get injured and abused inmates the compensation they deserve. For a free legal consultation on your case or a case for a loved one who is currently incarcerated, call our law office today at (814) 826-3586.
Suing a Prison for Inmate Abuse Caused by Prison Guards
Prison guards and correctional officers are not above the law, but it is still often an uphill battle to hold them accountable for what they do behind closed doors at a prison. Many laws and policies are in place to protect prison guards and give them the discretion to act as they see fit while on duty, but these rules should not interfere with your civil rights and your right to remain free from abuse and physical harm. As such, you can usually sue prison guards for excessive use of force, assault, sexual assault, and other violent acts committed against you while you spent time in a correctional facility.
It is legal for prison guards and correctional officers to use some level of force when necessary. Prison guards do, at times, need to use physical force or nonlethal weapons to stop fights, riots, or assaults. However, many guards take this to the extreme, using unnecessary levels of force against unarmed inmates. Civil rights laws codified under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 allow victims of civil rights abuses, excessive violence, and other harms to sue the government or the prison for what happened to them.
In some situations, there might also be state laws that give you the right to sue, which could give you greater or lesser protections than what federal law does.
Restrictions on Lawsuits Against Prisons for Abuse and Violence
In most cases, there are restrictions on how your case will proceed:
First, there is a statute of limitations that dictates how long you have to file the case. While § 1983 does not have its own statute of limitations, Wilson v. Garcia (1985) held that you use the state’s personal injury statute of limitations, which varies from state to state. If there is confusion over which state statute of limitations applies, Owens v. Okure (1989) gives guidance on which statute of limitations to use. If your case is filed too late, it might be dismissed.
Second, The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires a few factors be met when trying to file a claim against a federal prison:
- You must exhaust other remedies before going to court
- You may have to pay filing fees in full up front
- Dismissed or denied claims make it harder to file again later
- There must be physical injury involved
Third, there are various timeline issues that might affect your case. Many of these are state-by-state rules that require that notice of your intent to sue be filed by a certain deadline. Other restrictions on lawsuits against the government might dictate when you can file, or they might limit the damages you can receive. Often, the government cannot be sued unless it has specifically authorized such lawsuits.
Hiring a Lawyer to Help with Your Case Against a Prison for Abuse by Correctional Officers
If you want to get justice for your injuries after being abused or injured by a prison guard, you should work with an attorney. Prison guards, administrators, and other government officials rarely take claims from prisoners seriously, and it is often very difficult to stand up and have your voice heard without a lawyer representing you. In many cases, you will already have a criminal defense lawyer working on your case’s appeals or post-conviction relief petitions, but you should often hire a separate civil rights attorney for these kinds of cases.
In most claims against prison guards and correctional officers, the prison will be in control of most of the evidence. Your own testimony about what happened is only a piece of the evidence you need. Other inmates could be asked to testify, but reports, duty logs, security camera footage, and bodycam footage are all within the control of the prison. To have any of this evidence seized or preserved for trial, you will often need an attorney to make such a request. Otherwise, logs might be destroyed according to normal retention policies, and footage might be overwritten within mere days.
In some cases, understanding how to file your case and what steps you need to take before your lawsuit can be filed will be an extremely difficult process. Especially if you are in prison with limited resources, it might be impossible to get your case together and file it through the proper channels without the help of an attorney.
Call Our Lawyer for Inmate Lawsuits Against Prison Guards for Violence, Abuse, and Sexual Assault
If you were or are currently an inmate in a state or federal correctional facility and need help filing a lawsuit against a prison guard for abuse or violence, contact The Law Office of Andrew Shubin. If your loved one is incarcerated, you can also contact us about their case on their behalf. Our attorney for injuries sustained from prison guards and staff provide services separate from what your criminal defense lawyer might already provide, and we work to help seek justice for injured and abused inmates across the country. To schedule your free case consultation with our attorney, call us today at (814) 826-3586.