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Jail Injury Lawyers

Fighting for individuals injured while in custody and the families of those who have died in custody

Vaage Law > Practice Areas > Jail Injury Lawyers

How Can a Jail Injury Lawyer Help You?

Prisoners and detainees have certain rights separate and apart from criminal law. These vulnerable individuals are often at the mercy of the prison or peace officers who arrest them. If you have been injured in jail or while arrested, you may have a claim against the sheriffs or police or prison/jail personnel.

When an individual is injured while being arrested or while detained, they often don’t realize there may be an actionable claim for their injuries. While the focus of criminal laws is to protect the rights of individuals, there is a body of civil laws intended to protect and compensate prisoners and arrestees when they are injured by law enforcement.

Some of those civil rights involve false arrest, false imprisonment, excessive use of force, violations of the right to medical care and the conditions of confinement, and unnecessary delays in processing. These civil rights violations tend to involve issues that are at the core of human dignity and freedom.

At Vaage Law, we treat jail injury issues very seriously. We understand how important it is to protect the rights of arrested and incarcerated people and to hold organizations accountable when they violate those rights. We have experience in cases involving false arrest, injuries in jail, prisoner abuse, medical negligence by jail health care providers, and other important prisoner rights matters.

If you believe that you or a loved one have had your civil rights violated by law enforcement, contact our San Diego office at (619) 338-0505.

What Are Some Examples of Inmate Personal Injury Cases Our Law Firm Handles?

At Vaage Law, we handle a wide range of jail injury cases. In particular, we focus on cases involving unequal treatment in relation to law enforcement and the justice system. These include:

  • False Arrest
  • Excessive Use of Force by Police
  • Law Enforcement Discrimination
  • Medical Negligence in Jail
  • Jail & Prison Abuse
  • Sheriff Deputy Negligence

Cases 4 Causes Podcast: Listen to Bob Vaage on the Cases 4 Causes Podcast as he talks about a negligence case against the County of San Diego.

Podcast Transcript

Landon Harlan
I think the first time I actually saw your name in the newspaper was about a medical fraud case. And then I've seen it also in the recent news regarding a Collins case, I believe. And this is an interesting one. Can you tell us a little bit about the Collins case?

Bob Vaage
Sure. The Collins case involved a young man who about 30 years old at the time, who got ill and he kind of holed up in his apartment and he was hallucinating. And county sheriffs here in San Diego had two encounters with him and they made an assumption that he was intoxicated, wound up taking him to jail. Mistake number one, the admitting nurse at the jail whose job it is to determine whether or not somebody's physically or emo and mentally fit to get into jail, admitted him when he shouldn't have. He fell and hit his head twice on the concrete floor overnight in jail, despite the fact there was video of it, nobody came to his assistance. And by the time he got to the hospital, he had a subdural hematoma. His electrolytes were so far outta whack that he wound up with a significant brain injury.

We started out with that case looking at it from a medical malpractice standpoint of what happened at the hospital by the time he got there. And then we backtracked and we were looking at the records of the arrest, then we looked at the records from the jail and we realized that what happened in the hospital was at the very tail end of a sequence of events that had evolved over 48 hours from his initial arrest, who was being put in jail that we're all connected and that if he hadn't have been arrested and taken to jail if he'd been taken to the hospital right away like he should have been, that what happened to him would not have happened. So we wound up suing this, the county of San Diego, which is if he checked the news, has had a number of deaths and injuries to people in their jails. The Collins case was really the first big verdict against the county of San Diego for issues related to the jails. And it gave a lot of exposure to that issue and there've been a number of successful cases since, and now the county is in the process of trying to clean up all the problems they have in their jail. So it was a pretty significant case.

Attorney Bob Vaage was awarded Outstanding Trial Attorney for his work on a case against the County of San Diego for negligence by its sheriff’s deputies and jail nurses. The County offered $500,000 to settle the case, while we went on to secure a $12.6 million verdict.

We believe that all people are entitled to due process and the full protection of the law, no matter what their situation is or whether they have become entangled in the legal process.

VIDEO: Joe Collins Testimonial – Traumatic Brain Injury Case
Joe Collins recaps Vaage Law’s diligence and attention to his son’s case where he suffered a traumatic brain injury while in a detention center

What Damages Are Available in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Every lawsuit is different and involves many factors, so it is difficult to project an average amount for damages in a civil rights/personal injury claim. However, a skilled attorney can help the plaintiff in a civil rights lawsuit obtain compensation for losses such as:

  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Medical bills and injury costs
  • Future medical care
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Emotional distress damages

Long-term costs may also be factored in with cases involving severe injuries, such as those where catastrophic injury or traumatic brain injury resulted from the violation. In certain instances, wrongful death damages may also apply in cases where the victim of a civil rights violation lost their life.


Should I Hire a San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer if My Rights Have Been Violated?

Yes, it is important to explore your legal options if your rights have been violated. Inmate personal injury lawsuits consistently involve complex fact patterns and egregious conduct. Governmental immunities can apply in certain instances. Personal injuries caused by law enforcement, abuse or negligence in correctional facilities, and other systemic issues must be addressed and eradicated.

In these cases, it’s important to work closely with an attorney who has the experience and network of expert witnesses to tackle such issues. At Vaage Law, we have the track record and resources to handle jail injuries and related civil rights violations that can affect our communities trust in law enforcement. We treat each client with the utmost respect and prepare for each case as if we are going to trial. Contact us at (619) 338-0505 to discuss your legal options now.

Jail Injury Lawsuits: FAQs

How long will a jail injury lawsuit take?

Due to their complex nature, jail injury lawsuits can often take a year or more to complete. However, it is absolutely worth pursuing such claims, as filing a civil rights lawsuit can often uncover systematic abuses that are affecting large portions of the population. Civil rights lawsuits involve strict filing deadlines, so be sure to contact a lawyer promptly if you have any questions.

What are examples of jail-related violations?

Examples of civil rights violations include:

  • False Arrest: Arrest of a person without lawful justification, such as when an arrest is made without a proper warrant
  • Excessive Use of Force by Police: This often occurs in connection with an arrest or in situations such as protests or demonstrations
  • Jail & Prison Abuse: For instance, if an inmate is denied proper medical care or if they are physically abused
  • Sheriff Deputy Negligence: This can cover a wide range of conduct, such as when a deputy carelessly injures a detainee due to not following proper protocol

If you believe your rights as a prisoner or arrestee were violated and you were injured or you have a family member who died while incarcerated, you may be entitled to relief and compensation under the law. Contact Vaage Law at (619) 338-0505 to discuss your legal rights.

What do I need to prepare for my jail injury case?

If you are able to do so, it is helpful to begin preparing the following:

  • A written account of the events leading up to the violation
  • Medical records of the injuries
  • Logs or documents that might serve as evidence, such as emails or texts
  • Any photos, videos, or witness statements regarding the incident

We understand that it may be difficult to obtain all of these on your own. While it is helpful to prepare these, it is our job as attorneys to gather and review all evidence that might be related to your case.

Why should I hire your firm?

At Vaage Law, we are known for our thoroughness in preparing for trial, and for our tenacity and attention to detail. Other firms often seek us out for co-counsel opportunities, and we have successfully handled cases involving sheriff’s deputies and jail nurses.

We have a combined total of almost 150 years of legal experience at Vaage Law and are ready to take on the most challenging jail injury cases. Contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation about your claim.




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