Difficulties With Getting Injury Evidence In Jail
Some things that free people take for granted are difficult to accomplish behind bars. For example, gathering evidence of an injury in jail or prison isn't easy. You need this evidence if you are submitting a personal injury claim against the responsible party. Here are some of the specific challenges you may face:
Getting Photographic Evidence
One of the most common pieces of advice given to injury victims is to get photographic or video evidence. Pictures of the accident scene, blood on the ground, torn clothes and similar things can go a long way in proving an injury occurred. Unfortunately, this is easier to do on the outside than in a correctional facility where cameras and smartphones aren't usually allowed.
However, there are a few tricks you can use to get the photographic evidence you need, and they include:
- Asking help from a friendly guard.
- Using pictures taken by witnesses, such as a visiting social worker or a chaplain.
- Requesting footage from video surveillance system used by the institution.
Getting Witnesses' Statements
Another difficulty you may face is that of convincing other people to testify on your behalf. In prison, the people most likely to witness an accident are the guards and your fellow inmates. The guards may be reluctant to testify if their testimony may reflect badly on them, for example if they are responsible for the conditions that led to your accident. Similarly, other inmates may not be willing to help either if it may get them into trouble either with the guards or with other inmates, depending on the situation.
Try getting statements from other people, such as visitors to the prison or other prison workers who aren't guards, such as medical professionals. Fellow inmates who are afraid of getting victimized for speaking on your behalf may be more willing to testify if they understand the availability of witness protection. You will need help from an attorney to convince the potential witnesses of this.
Getting Medical Records
Getting your medical records, if you aren't behind bars, is a fairly straightforward affair. You just make a request to your medical provider, and you get the records within a specified period; a denial of the records demands a written explanation.
Getting your records for medical services incurred in prison shouldn't be difficult either, but the reality is a bit different. Ideally, you should get the records by submitting a request to the jail. However, sometimes things happen that you can't explain, and you may not get the records as you expect. If this happens, your best course of action is to hire a lawyer to follow it up. Most likely, the lawyer will use a subpoena to get the records.
The fact that you are behind bars doesn't mean that you don't have a right to compensation if another party's negligence causes you injury. The process may be complicated, as explained above, but it is possible. Since you won't be free to do most of the things on your own, you shouldn't underestimate the need for a lawyer to help with your case. Contact a firm like Halverson & Sheehy, PLLC for more information about pursuing a case.