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Inmate Death

Although inmates and prisoners may have less rights while incarcerated, every inmate still has constitutional rights that protect them from cruel and unusual punishment, ensure that they receive adequate medical care and protect them against the actions of other inmates. If you or your loved one were injured while in jail and or denied reasonable medical treatment following your serious injuries, you may have a claim. If your loved one died or was killed in jail, you and your family may have claims on behalf of your loved one and possibly individual claims against the prison for negligence or wrongful death.

If the staff at the prison is deliberately indifferent to an inmate’s medical needs, fails to protect them from other prisoners, abuses power, or uses excessive force then you may have a claim. You have a right to voice your complaint and if your loved one was harmed while in jail, they may need to rely on you to help them in the legal process. If you or your loved one suffered serious injuries or death as a result of jail guard negligence or misconduct you have every right to be angry.

A civil rights attorney, like those at Smith + Schwartzstein LLC can help hold the prison accountable for their negligence or misconduct and can help you receive just compensation for you or your loved one. We have experience in filing lawsuits on behalf of inmates and their families against prisons and jails and we are available for a free consultation.

If you or your loved one was injured or killed because of one of the following you may have a claim:

  • Failure to monitor medical condition;
  • Failure to determine medication needs at intake;
  • Failure to provide proper medical attention;
  • Failure to keep a suicide watch or to provide mental health resources;
  • Excessive use of force and guard brutality
  • Failure to protect inmates from others

Recent Cases

Smith + Schwartzstein LLC recently settled a wrongful death claim against Morris County, NJ for $2million.

How Could a Prisoner Wrongful Death or Inmate Personal Injury Lawsuit Help?

You may be able to receive compensation in a lawsuit for a violation of an inmates rights related to inmate death or injury for the following:

  • Future expected earnings for the deceased
  • Financial dependence of survivors of the deceased
  • Survival claim for pain and suffering of deceased prior to death
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of parenting, care and nurturing
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Civil rights damages

We are ready to fight for you and your loved one’s rights. As civil rights and inmate rights attorneys we are ready to go head to head with jails, prisons and the government to help our clients. Please call us at 908-219-4457 for a free consultation.


Get a FREE initial consultation by calling Smith + Schwartzstein locally at 908-219-4457 or toll free at 800-779-4098, or emailing us at kathryn@sslawfirmllc.com and we will contact you. We offer flexible appointment scheduling.

Personal injury FAQs


Q: How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
A: Typically you must have suffered an injury to your person as a result of someone else’s negligence, however, you can also have a nonphysical loss or harm, such as in the case of an assault or infliction of emotional distress or invasion of privacy.

Q: What is “negligence”?
A: Negligence occurs when a person owed you, or the general public, a duty of care and you were injured as a result of the person’s violation of that duty. Essentially, a person is negligent if he/she fails to act like an ordinary reasonable person would have acted in the same or similar situation.

Q: What if I cannot prove someone’s negligence caused my injury? If there any other basis for personal injury liability?
A: Yes, there is the concept of “strict liability” for certain activities that harm others, even if not done negligently or with wrongful intent. For example companies who manufacture defective products or persons who own dangerous animals can be strictly liable for injuries to others.

Q: What is medical malpractice?
A: Medical malpractice, or medical negligence, occurs when a hospital, doctor, nurse or another healthcare provider or medical technician fails to perform his/her duties to the standard of those with similar training or experience, resulting in harm to the patient. Some examples include misdiagnosis, surgical error, medication error or misread test result.

Q: How much could I recover in a personal injury action?
A: The potential financial recovery, or compensatory damages, of your personal injury action are dependent on a number of variables, including medical expenses as a result of the defendant’s negligence, psychological damage, permanent injuries or long-term incapacities as a result of the injury, anticipated future medical care, lost wages or employment opportunities now and in the foreseeable future.

Q: If I was injured a long time ago, can I still sue?
A: No, according to New Jersey law you must bring your lawsuit within two years of your injury, or upon learning of your injury.

Q: What if a person dies before bringing a personal injury lawsuit?
A: If a person dies as a result of their injuries from an accident, then the person’s heirs can bring a wrongful death action on behalf of the estate of the deceased.

Q: What is the difference between an injury claim and a personal injury lawsuit?
A: A legal claim is made with the responsible party’s insurance company to recover compensation for your injuries. A personal injury lawsuit is a formal legal action where you can seek compensation for injuries before a court jury to decide the merits of your case and your request for compensation.

Q: Why should I hire a lawyer to handle my personal injury claim and/or lawsuit?
A: A lawyer will explain the legal process, help you maneuver the system, and be your advocate. The responsible party or company’s opposing counsel or insurance company will try to settle your claim as quickly as possible, with as little payout as possible. A lawyer advocating for you will help even the playing field between parties and assist in getting you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Q: Will I have to pay you any money out of pocket or upfront fees?
A: No, we take all personal injury cases on a contingency basis. You don’t pay any money until your case is settled or we obtain a verdict.

Q: How long will it take to resolve my personal injury case?
A: There is no clear-cut answer to this question. It can depend on the extent of your injuries, whether a settlement can be negotiated prior to filing a lawsuit with a court, or whether the case is fully litigated, including going to trial. It can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. We try to move things along as quickly and efficiently as possible, but there are court rules that prohibit infringing on either party’s right to adequately prepare their side in a case.


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