What Is Deliberate Indifference to a Serious Medical Need?

By bovolaw on September 14, 2018

The Standard for Deliberate Indifference

Inmates who are carrying out their prison sentence or have experienced a period of detainment before and/or during their trial may experience unfair treatment at the hands of prison officials, police, or others involved in their incarceration. Sometimes this mistreatment takes the form of willful, overt abuse, such as sexual abuse, violence, etc.

In other cases, it may take the form of what is known as “deliberate indifference.” Legally speaking, deliberate indifference is the willful disregard of the effects of one’s actions or omissions on the well-being of another person.

Deliberate Indifference to Serious Medical Needs

When prisoners or detainees suffer due to medical issues, it is necessary to determine whether the person has suffered because of medical malpractice or deliberate indifference. This difference is key for many reasons and it has a direct effect on the amount and type of compensation affected persons can be awarded.

Medical malpractice is an issue of professional negligence and claims are reviewed and evaluated for legitimacy by medical peers. Determinations of negligence are made based on a basic standard of acceptable care (which is set forth by said peers), evidence of the quality of care received, and successful arguments that the care provided falls below the accepted standard. Determining that medical malpractice has occurred almost always requires the plaintiff to retain an expert.

Deliberate indifference, on the other hand, does not require retention of an expert witness. It only requires inmates or detainees to prove that a prison official (or multiple prison officials) knew about a serious medical need and failed to act in an appropriate manner and address said need in a timely manner (or at all).

If you or someone you love has suffered from a serious medical issue while detained or incarcerated, you may have a viable claim for deliberate indifference if a prison official or medical care provider knew about an existing issue and failed to administer appropriate treatment.

Civil Rights Attorneys Serving Victims of Injustice in Denver

At Bovo Law, LLC, we understand your rights and have the knowledge and skill necessary to protect them. We provide effective representation for clients who have faced unfair, unreasonable, and harmful treatment at the hands of prison officials and members of law enforcement. Allow us to come alongside you and help you obtain the just solution and compensation you deserve.

Call 303.333.4686 today or contact us to schedule your confidential case review with one of our civil rights attorneys in Denver.


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