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“Thanks Tara for always believing in me and making me feel like I was your only client. You made the impossible possible. Forever grateful.”

- Gabriel V.

New Jersey Prisoner Injury Lawyer

Prison cell Prisoners face an uphill climb in receiving compensation after a prison injury. Many jurors view prisoners negatively, and some may assume you brought an injury on yourself. However, many inmates suffer terrible injuries in jail or prison, and you deserve compensation when someone else is at fault. Prison officials and guards routinely ignore cries for help, and they sometimes beat inmates for no reason.

Multiple laws protect prisoners like you from abuse and serious injury. At Tara Breslow-Testa and Associates, we are prepared to use all available laws to protect your right to be treated with dignity. You are paying your debt to society—you do not deserve to be neglected or abused in the process. To find out more about whether we can help, contact us today for a free consultation. We can talk about the incident that injured you and whether you can sue for compensation.

Information Center
  1. What Injuries Can Inmates Suffer In Prison?
  2. What Causes Prisoner Injuries?
  3. When Can I Sue For Lack Of Adequate Medical Care?
  4. Can I Sue The Prison Or Only The Guards?
  5. Can I Sue If I Was Injured In A Federal Prison?
  6. Who Can I Sue When An Inmate Beats Me?
  7. What Compensation Can I Receive?
  8. Can I File A New Jersey Prison Injury Lawsuit Myself?
  9. Why Should I Hire Tara Breslow-Testa & Associates?
  10. How Much Time Do I Have To File A Lawsuit For A New Jersey Prison Injury?
  11. Should I Wait Until I Am Out Of Prison To Sue?
  12. Can I Sue If I Got Hurt In A Fight I Started?
  13. Passionate New Jersey Prison Injury Lawyers
What Injuries Can Inmates Suffer In Prison?

Inmates can suffer serious injuries in attacks or when denied reasonable medical care. Some of the most serious injuries include:

  • Fractures
  • Stab wounds
  • Organ damage
  • Head injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Intracranial bleeding
  • Blindness
  • Back injuries
  • Infection
  • Paralysis

We can’t ignore the psychological effects of injuries, either. If you were attacked or sexually assaulted, you might relive the incident over and over. You might also live in fear of the attack happening again. Many jail inmates suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder which can require medication and counseling.

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What Causes Prisoner Injuries?

Prisoners can suffer serious injuries for all sorts of reasons. Let’s look at some of the most common.

Excessive Force By Prison Guards

We hear horrifying stories from inmates about guards who beat, punch, kick, and injure inmates. Prison guards can use reasonable force when necessary to restrain you. But they can’t use excessive force.

Denial Of Medical Care

Prisons must provide medical care to inmates, and the care must be competent. Many prisons have doctors and nurses on staff, or else they contract with outside providers. Either way, they are not allowed to ignore you if you are sick. They also can’t provide substandard care. The prison might even need to move you to the hospital to receive appropriate care.

Indifference To Suicidal Risk

Prisons cannot turn a blind eye if you express a desire to kill yourself or try to commit suicide. Instead, they must promptly address the risk. If they do not, and you hurt yourself attempting suicide, you might sue them. If a loved one committed suicide in prison, you might be entitled to compensation.

Sexual Assault

You might have been sexually assaulted by a prison official or guard or even by a fellow inmate. Prisons must protect inmates from foreseeable risks of sexual assault.

Attack By Other Jail Inmates

Inmate-on-inmate violence is high in prisons. The prisoner who attacks you is liable for the attack. In some cases, the prison might also be legally on the hook. If they knew you were at risk of getting hurt, they must act to protect you.

Dangerous Premises

Some prisons are old and falling down, or the prison officials make no attempt to keep them safe and sanitary. You could suffer a serious injury in a fall or other incident.

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When Can I Sue For Lack Of Adequate Medical Care?

Serum holder There are several situations where you might be able to sue. Medical providers must provide competent care to their patients. A doctor who fails to follow the correct standard of care has committed malpractice in New Jersey.

Many malpractice cases are brought under the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment.” If the prison is deliberately indifferent to your medical condition, you might successfully sue. For example:

  • You complain about pain, but the prison never makes a doctor available.
  • You suffer a stroke, but the prison doesn’t take you to the hospital.
  • You are attacked and bleeding or unconscious, but the prison officials don’t do anything.
  • You explain your symptoms to a doctor, but he ignores you or says you’re “fine.”
  • You are an addict going through withdrawal, but the prison offers no medical treatment.
  • Prison officials refuse to get you medications to manage health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, or something similar.

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Can I Sue The Prison Or Only The Guards?

It depends on the facts. Many prisons are owned by the government. Generally, the federal government and individual states are immune from a lawsuit. However, some prisons are privately owned by corporations and might not have immunity.

Even if you are housed in a government-owned prison, we can sometimes get around immunity. In particular, the government must follow the Constitution. Under the Eighth Amendment, you are protected from cruel and unusual punishment.

You can also use a law called Section 1983 to sue for violations of your rights. We have used this law to sue prison guards and officials for injuries.

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Can I Sue If I Was Injured In A Federal Prison?

Yes. We will probably use different laws. The federal government is immune from lawsuits, and Section 1983 doesn’t apply to federal employees. However, we might be abler to sue under the Federal Tort Claims Act. This law holds the federal government accountable when its employees injure people.

The federal government also must follow the U.S. Constitution, which means we might sue for an Eighth Amendment violation in federal prison. We can bring claims when you are beaten or deprived of necessary medical care.

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Who Can I Sue When An Inmate Beats Me?

First, you could sue the inmate who attacked you. We would file a personal injury lawsuit against the inmate. However, there are problems with this approach. The goal of a lawsuit is to receive compensation, and your fellow inmates might have no money. If you win your case, you get a court judgment. All that means is you have a right to payment.

Second, you might sue a guard and/or the prison for failing to protect you. Guards can’t let prisoners beat each other at will. If they have reason to suspect you’ll be attacked, they must take measures to protect you. If they fail to protect you, then they might be liable for your injuries.

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What Compensation Can I Receive?

We seek money damages for your injuries. This is money designed to make up for the injuries and pain you have suffered. There are many categories of damages we can seek.

Medical Care

You shouldn’t have to pay for your medical care if someone else is responsible for your injuries. We can seek compensation for medical care and, if you suffer permanent injuries, for future medical care.

Lost Income

You might work in prison, and your injuries could prevent you from earning money. It’s also possible that your long-lasting injuries could prevent you from working upon release. We can seek lost income or loss of earning capacity.

Pain And Suffering

Injuries cause physical pain, emotional distress, and suffering. You deserve money to try and make up for this pain and suffering. How much? It will depend on the injuries and how you were hurt. Our law firm will try to seek the maximum for our clients.

Punitive Damages

Some behavior is so callous that the defendant should pay punitive damages as punishment. Punitive damages are sometimes available in New Jersey prison injury cases (but not always). For example, a guard who beats you or sexually assaults you should pay punitive damages. But what if a guard delays getting you medical treatment for a couple of hours? That might not rise to the level that requires punitive damages.

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Can I File A New Jersey Prison Injury Lawsuit Myself?

Yes, you can. But you will face many challenges bringing a successful lawsuit.

For example, a law called the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) empowers judges to toss lawsuits they think are meritless. The person you sue never even has to file a reply. An attorney will know how to draft a complaint that survives this type of scrutiny. That can put pressure on prison officials to take your claims seriously.

Under the PLRA, you also need to pursue administrative remedies before you can sue in court. If you don’t pursue all these remedies, your case will get thrown out and you start back at square one.

A prisoner also might not know which law to sue under. As a result, your case might get dismissed more easily. A lawyer knows how to bring all possible legal claims, which improves the odds of a better outcome.

If your case goes to trial, then presenting evidence is also difficult for prisoners. Jurors and even the judge might not take you seriously. A lawyer knows how to make a strong argument in court. We can also find all the evidence that is helpful to your case.

Thousands of prisoners file lawsuits every year, and judges toss thousands of them out of court without so much as a trial. You’ll improve your odds of success by hiring an experienced New Jersey prison injury lawyer.

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Why Should I Hire Tara Breslow-Testa & Associates?

Our New Jersey prison injury lawyers know how to fully investigate prison incidents. If you were attacked by guards, for example, other guards might clam up and refuse to talk. It’s not unusual for guards to claim you injured yourself or got in a fight with an inmate. We use our experience to try and uncover all helpful evidence.

Few law firms are prepared to represent injured prison inmates. They don’t know the special rules which apply to prison litigation. They also don’t understand all the laws that possibly apply.

We do. We can handle your case from start to finish, including helping you pursue all required administrative remedies. We also don’t charge any fees unless we win your case.

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How Much Time Do I Have To File A Lawsuit For A New Jersey Prison Injury?

Not much time. Generally, you’ll have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. This is the statute of limitations in New Jersey. Depending on who you sue, you might have even less time. For example, if you sue a state prison, you might only have a few months. To protect your rights, we strongly encourage you to reach out to us today. A personal injury lawyer can get a lawsuit filed in the right court to protect you.

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Should I Wait Until I Am Out Of Prison To Sue?

It depends. Sometimes it’s easier, but you must be aware of the statute of limitations. Please call an attorney. Based on what we hear, we can talk about a timeline that makes sense. Sometimes it’s easier to sue once you’re out of prison, but we’d never recommend going past the limitations period.

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Can I Sue If I Got Hurt In A Fight I Started?

We need to know the facts surrounding the fight. It’s much harder to bring a lawsuit if you started the fight with another inmate or with a prison guard. After all, guards can use force to restrain you. Although they can’t use “excessive” force, the line is hard to draw. An attorney can help you determine whether you can bring a lawsuit if you took the first swing.

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Passionate New Jersey Prison Injury Lawyers

We proudly represent injured inmates in lawsuits stemming from dangerous prisons. The sad reality is that prisoners are often forgotten in the justice system. Some people wrongly believe that because you were convicted of a crime you do not deserve to have your rights respected. Others believe that guards in state and federal prisons and in correctional facilities are allowed to behave in cruel and inhumane ways.

Attorney Breslow-Testa leans on her deep knowledge of the New Jersey criminal justice system. For more than a decade, she has represented defendants in criminal cases. She knows that criminal defendants and convicted prisoners are treated terribly throughout the process. And she is committed to using her legal skills to fight for justice on behalf of her clients against any negligent correctional facility.

Contact Tara Breslow-Testa and Associates today. Our firm offers a free consultation to anyone injured in jail or prison who is interested in their legal rights. Call us today at (732) 784-2880 or connect with us online.

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