Firm Logo
Call for a Free Consultation215-486-0123
Injured behind barsInjured behind bars

Injured Behind Bars: How to Pursue a Jail Injury Claim in Pennsylvania

February 13, 2024

Injured behind barsInjured behind bars

Injuries are a part of life's unexpected challenges, but when they occur behind bars, they enter a realm of legal and ethical complexities that many are unprepared for. Incarceration, by its very nature, places individuals in vulnerable positions, where their health and safety can be compromised, not just by the inherent risks of confinement but also by potential abuse or negligence from those entrusted with their care.

At van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, we recognize the profound impact such injuries can have on individuals and their families. Our mission extends beyond mere legal representation; we strive to empower victims by elucidating their rights and guiding them through the process of seeking justice. This article aims to serve as an in-depth resource for those who have endured serious injuries while incarcerated in Pennsylvania, offering a roadmap through the intricate legal landscape surrounding jail injury claims.

Understanding Your Rights

In Pennsylvania, as in the rest of the United States, incarcerated individuals retain certain rights, including the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, as guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment. This fundamental protection is crucial in the context of jail injuries, reinforcing the legal obligations of correctional facilities to ensure the safety and well-being of all inmates. These facilities are required to provide adequate medical care, maintain safe living conditions, and shield inmates from harm, be it from staff, other inmates, or systemic failures. Understanding these rights is the first step towards seeking redress for injustices endured behind bars.

Common Causes of Injuries Behind Bars

Incarcerated individuals may face various forms of jail mistreatment, leading to injuries or, in severe cases, death. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical Abuse by Staff or Other Inmates: Instances where excessive force is used or where inmates are assaulted by others within the facility.
  • Negligence: Situations where the failure to maintain safe premises or to provide adequate medical care leads to injuries.
  • Unsafe Conditions: This can include slip and falls due to poorly maintained facilities or injuries sustained from unsafe or defective equipment.
  • Lack of Medical Care: Delayed or denied medical attention can exacerbate conditions or lead to the development of serious health issues.

In Pennsylvania, the law recognizes these scenarios as violations of inmates' rights, provided the harm resulted from deliberate indifference or negligence on the part of the facility or its personnel.

The legal journey for inmates, or their families, seeking to file injury claims in Pennsylvania is navigated through a complex terrain, prominently outlined by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) and applicable state laws. The PLRA sets forth specific requirements that incarcerated individuals must fulfill before filing a lawsuit, including the exhaustion of all available administrative remedies.

A core aspect of these claims involves proving "deliberate indifference" on the part of prison staff—a concept indicating a knowing disregard for the health and safety risks to inmates. This requires a demonstration that the actions or inactions of the staff were made with awareness of potential harm, a critical element in pursuing justice for victims of jail mistreatment or for those who have died behind bars due to negligence.

Steps to Pursue a Jail Injury Claim in Pennsylvania

  • Immediate Actions Post-Injury: Initial steps involve documenting the injury, reporting it to the appropriate authorities, and seeking immediate medical care, laying the groundwork for a robust jail injury claim.
  • Gathering Evidence: Collecting essential evidence is critical. This includes obtaining medical records, securing testimonies from eyewitnesses, and, if available, getting copies of surveillance footage that might have captured the incident.
  • Understanding the Role of an Attorney: The complexities of jail injury claims necessitate the expertise of an experienced inmate abuse attorney at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, who can adeptly navigate the legal process, from evidence collection to litigation.
  • Filing the Claim: The legal process is multifaceted, requiring strict adherence to notice requirements, the statute of limitations, and accurately completing all required paperwork. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations and specific procedural requirements must be carefully followed to avoid dismissal of the claim.

Claimants may confront several obstacles, such as institutional retaliation, bureaucratic complexities, and the daunting task of proving negligence or deliberate indifference. Our seasoned team at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim specializes in tackling these challenges, safeguarding our clients' rights, and advancing their interests with tenacity and expertise.

Next Steps: Standing for Justice

Facing an injury or dealing with the loss of a loved one who died behind bars due to abuse or negligence is a profound injustice that demands legal redress. Our attorneys, well-versed in defending the rights of those affected by jail mistreatment, are committed to fighting diligently for justice. We leverage our extensive experience and successful track record to advocate for our clients, ensuring they receive the comprehensive support and representation they deserve.

For individuals in Pennsylvania facing the aftermath of jail injuries, we offer our expertise and encouragement to reach out for a free consultation. Our experienced inmate abuse attorneys are here to navigate the complexities of your case, ensuring your rights are upheld, and your voice is amplified. Together, we stand united in the pursuit of justice and reparation for the injustices endured behind bars.

Contact Personal Injury Lawyers at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim Today for a Free Consultation About Your Jail Injury Case

At van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, we understand the profound impact that injuries sustained behind bars can have on you and your loved ones. Our team of dedicated jail injury attorneys stands ready to champion your rights and guide you through the complexities of the legal system with compassion, expertise, and unwavering support.

With decades of experience in defending the rights of those affected by jail mistreatment, our attorneys possess the knowledge, skills, and determination needed to navigate the challenges of jail injury claims. We are committed to providing personalized legal representation, ensuring your case receives the attention it deserves, and striving for the justice and compensation you are entitled to.

If you or a loved one has experienced injury or loss due to negligence or abuse behind bars in Pennsylvania, don't face this battle alone. Contact us today for a free consultation. Let us put our expertise to work for you, standing as your steadfast ally in the pursuit of justice.


Personal Injury
Firm Logo
Allentown Office609 Hamiltion St,Suite 7Allentown, PA 18101Map & Directions
Philadelphia Office1219 Spruce StPhiladelphia, PA 19107Map & Directions
Montgomery County Office411 Cherry St.Norristown, PA 19401Map & Directions
Follow Us
Make A Payment