Jails and prisons are dangerous places to be in for many reasons, and it’s essential for correctional facilities to have safety measures in place, which can help prevent injuries and accidents among inmates. When there is a failure in the prison’s duty of care to the people they serve, loved ones of a deceased inmate may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit for wrongful death.
Drug overdose is one of the biggest issues facing any prison system, and sadly, it’s a leading cause of death among inmates at correctional facilities throughout the United States. Most of these cases involve opioids, such as fentanyl, methamphetamine, and K2 (synthetic marijuana). California is one of the top states for inmate deaths involving prison drug overdose. If negligence by the jail, prison, or another correctional facility caused your loved one to die from overdosing on drugs, our lawyers are here to educate you on your rights and legal options. Contact DTLA Law Group to speak with an inmate death lawyer, who can represent you in a wrongful death case against a California correctional center.
Drug Overdose Deaths in California Prisons
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, overdose deaths in state prisons have risen dramatically in the past 20 years. Federal data shows that from 2001 to 2018, drug or alcohol-related deaths rose by 600% in state prisons, and by 200% in county jails. Fentanyl death in jail is particularly on the rise, along with overdosing on other synthetic opioids.
The big question is: who is responsible for the death of a prisoner that has overdosed on drugs? Frankly, there are many individuals that may be involved, ranging from a correctional officer that neglected their duty to higher ups that looked the other way on incidents of prisoner abuse. Medical service providers that are contracted by the prison may also be at fault, as they have direct access to prescription opioids.
Prisoners, by the way, are at an increased risk for deaths from drugs that are smuggled in from the streets. There’s no way to tell where these drugs are coming from or if they’re cut with other substances that can have fatal consequences. Another risk factor is the lack of reliable medical care at these facilities if an inmate is clearly in distress from the effects of a drug overdose. In many cases, guards and other employees ignore signs of distress and fail to get the inmate help in a timely manner.
Who is Responsible for a Prison Drug Overdose?
At the end of the day, there’s no denying that many of these incidents are due to negligence by the prison system and other entities that work for the facility. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is one party that is often named in these lawsuits, as they operate the state prison and parole systems. If the institution is a federal entity, meaning they are operated by the U.S. government, the Federal Bureau of Prisons may be liable for the wrongful death of a prisoner by drug overdose.
California also has prisons that are run by private companies, like Management & Training Corporation (MTC). Corporations can also be named as defendants in a jail death or suicide case, though lawsuits against private entities have different procedures than claims against the state or federal government. To ensure that you understand exactly who is responsible for your loved one’s death, please consult the wrongful death lawyers of DTLA Law Group.
Potential Case Value of a Wrongful Death in Prison Lawsuit
Your settlement from an inmate wrongful death lawsuit is based on the monetary losses you are entitled to. The total sum of these losses may be easy to calculate for economic damages, like funeral expenses and medical costs. However, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium, are more difficult to translate into a dollar value. We also have to look at projected losses, including future income and other forms of support that you would have received from the victim. These and various other issues are used to determine the case value for a drug overdose in prison lawsuit. Possible payments for a wrongful death claim may be around $500,000 to $1 million or more. Due to the wide range of values with these cases, it’s essential to determine what your own claim is worth by meeting with us for a free case review.
How Long Does it Take to Settle a Wrongful Death Case?
Negligent death lawsuits can take anywhere from 6 months to one or more years to settle. Though some cases at our law firm have settled faster, it’s worth noting that these are highly sensitive cases with many complicated issues. Then, you have to consider the various individuals and entities that may be involved when there is a drug overdose in a correctional center. That’s why it may be several years before some of these cases are resolved, especially if a trial is needed to bring justice to the victim’s loved ones.
Statute of Limitations to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you were suing a private entity, like a corporation that manages a prison facility, you would have two years to file a claim for wrongful death. However, most jails, prisons, and halfway houses in California are operated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which is a government agency. Some institutions, like US penitentiaries, are managed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which is an entity of the U.S. government.
In California, wrongful death claims against the government must be filed within 6 months of the person’s death. There are some exceptions to this rule that can allow for additional time to pursue a legal case. A wrongful death lawyer at our office can explain these exceptions to you in detail and help you determine the exact amount of time you have to file your claim. Depending on the response to your claim, you will have 6 months or 2 years to petition the court for a lawsuit. As there are strict deadlines that apply to these cases, please contact our law firm as soon as possible.
Free Second Opinion
Wrongful death claims are some of the most complex cases in the field of personal injury. As a result, it’s essential to select a lawyer that’s experienced in fighting for the rights of surviving family members. Unfortunately, many people end up with lawyers that lack the needed skills or the time and attention that’s needed by their clients. If you suspect that there are problems in your case, contact our law firm to schedule a free second opinion consultation. Our attorneys have decades of experience in negligent death cases against government entities, including correctional institutions throughout California. No matter the issue, we can help you get your case back on track if you lost someone to a jail or prison drug overdose.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit against Prison Systems in California
Losing that special someone is devastating, no matter the cause, but a death is especially difficult to accept when it could have been prevented by reasonable measures. If negligence by prison employees and officials caused your loved one to die from a drug overdose, please seek legal advice from an experienced prison neglect lawsuit attorney. The lawyers of Normandie have been representing loved ones of wrongful death victims for many years. We understand these cases inside and out and know what it takes to secure the highest possible settlement on behalf of our clients.
As a contingency-based law firm, we don’t charge upfront if you decide to hire us. Instead, we wait to receive payment from the at-fault party, which is paid to us along with your settlement check. What happens if we don’t win your case? You owe us nothing under the Zero Fee Guarantee, which ensures that you won’t be responsible for any legal fees, no matter the outcome.
Don’t wait to learn about the legal actions that we can take on your behalf if you lost someone to a drug overdose in a California prison. A wrongful death in prison lawyer is waiting to speak with you, so contact us to schedule a free case evaluation.