doctor using stethoscope

Medical neglect is an ongoing crisis both in Nevada prisons and throughout the United States. In fact, many inmates in the United States die each year from treatable medical conditions. Despite a United States Constitution that prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, inmates are often left without basic medical care when they have no way of getting care on their own. When medical neglect occurs, both inmates and family members alike stand by helplessly waiting for the justice that they may never receive.

If your loved one is the victim of medical neglect in a Nevada prison, they have rights. They may deserve financial compensation that includes the cost of treatment as well as pain and suffering. There are unique standards that apply to medical neglect cases that arise during incarceration. Here’s what you need to know from our Nevada personal injury law office.

Do Jails Have to Provide Medical Care?

Yes, jails have to provide medical care. A jail may not disregard any serious medical need that an inmate has while in custody. The jail must provide care for both physical health needs and mental health needs. They must provide care before pre-trial release and after sentencing. The care provided must include treatment for injuries and infectious disease.

Do Prisoners Have the Right to Medical Care?

Yes, prisoners have the right to medical care. The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution says that each inmate has the right to humane treatment while in prison. Courts interpret this requirement to mean that inmates have the right to reasonable medical care. The prison must provide treatment for injuries and diseases. They must also provide medical examinations that are required by law.

The Constitution and the Right to Health Care in Prison

The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution says that the justice system may not subject anyone to cruel or unusual punishment. The courts interpret that to mean that they may not leave prisoners without adequate medical care. The legal standard is that the prison system must provide sufficient medical care for serious medical conditions.

When the prison shows a deliberate disregard for an inmate’s medical needs, the prison may be subject to liability for the harm that results. In fact, legal action is a critical part of holding prison officials responsible for failing to provide the care that inmates deserve. A legal action is based on 42 U.S.C. 1983[1] for a violation of civil rights. A section 1983 action is based on a deliberate disregard of a serious medical need. The burden of proof for the victim to win the case is a preponderance of the evidence that the prison facility is guilty of medical neglect.

Do Prisoners Have to Pay for Medical Care?

Prisoners have to pay for medical care sometimes. While it’s up to the prison to provide reasonable medical care for each inmate, the prison may impose a co-pay for health care services. In addition, state law may require a prisoner to pay all treatment costs for certain types of injuries and ailments. For example, some states require inmates to pay for their own care if they’re hurt while committing a public offense, if they self-inflict injuries or if they enter the prison system with pre-existing injuries or illnesses.

Who Pays for Medical Care While Incarcerated?

Both taxpayers and the inmate themselves pay for medical care while incarcerated. The government must provide adequate health care, including treatment for acute injuries and long-term illnesses. However, the state may charge the inmate a co-pay for services. The inmate may pay for their medical care while incarcerated if they enter the facility with pre-existing injuries or illnesses.

Can You Sue a Prison for Medical Malpractice?

Yes, you can sue a prison for medical malpractice. A prison must provide medical care to people who are incarcerated. However, the standard for bringing a medical malpractice claim on behalf of a prison inmate may be higher than it is for individuals who are not incarcerated. The prison facility may not show deliberate indifference to any inmate who needs medical attention. Medical malpractice may be the basis for a lawsuit when the victim is in prison.

Denied Medical Treatment in Jail

If you’re denied medical treatment in jail, you may be able to bring a lawsuit for financial compensation. A jail must provide treatment for any serious injury or illness. When a jail representative knows or has reason to know that an inmate may need medical care, they must arrange for care within a reasonable time. If you’re denied medical treatment in jail, you may deserve financial compensation that includes bills for additional medical care, pain and suffering, and reimbursement of attorney’s fees.

Lawsuits Based on Medical Neglect in Nevada Jail and Prison

The constitutional obligation to provide reasonable medical care applies in both jails and prisons throughout Nevada. Adequate care in a jail facility is left up to the county sheriff where the inmate is incarcerated. The jail may use a third-party provider for medical services. However, the use of a third-party provider doesn’t relieve the jail of liability for failing to meet their legal obligations.

In Clark County, the largest jail facility is the Clark County Detention Center. Inmates who are in pre-trial incarceration, and inmates who are serving a sentence have the right to receive medical care. Inmates who are in custody for 10 or more days must receive a thorough medical evaluation. When they leave custody, each person must have enough medication and referrals to follow-up care to enable them to continue their care after incarceration.

Nevada Attorneys for Medical Neglect in Prison

Are you concerned about the medical care that your loved one is receiving in prison? Do you worry that they may be the victim of medical neglect? You can take action. Medical neglect is a serious problem in Nevada. By holding officials accountable, you can help your loved one and take action that might improve medical care for all inmates who are unable to help themselves. But you must bring a legal claim to receive compensation for your loved one.

At Adam S. Kutner Accident & Injury Attorneys, we fight for deserving accident victims every day. We’re here to fight for you. It’s our goal to help each victim fight for justice. Contact our legal team today for a confidential consultation about your options. We look forward to meeting you.


[1] 42 U.S. Code § 1983. Civil action for deprivation of rights


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Adam S. Kutner

Adam S. Kutner Personal Injury Lawyer

With more than 30 years of experience fighting for victims of personal injury in the Las Vegas valley, Attorney Adam S. Kutner knows his way around the Nevada court system and how to get clients their settlement promptly and trouble-free.