Had seizure while incarcerated, fell face first and broke front teeth...
I suffer from minor epilepsy. I take gabapentin to control it. I informed the admissions staff right when I was locked up that this was an issue for me, yet I was placed in a lower scored medical facility than I needed. The medical department was not open 24/7.
About 1 1/2 years into my sentence, I was in a dorm setting on a bottom bunk. One night, I woke up at about 2 a.m. and had to use the bathroom. I remember getting up and grabbing my toiletries to walk to the bathroom, and the next thing I remember was waking up with COs all around me and I was on the floor.
I had fallen flat on my face, pushing my two front teeth back so far in my mouth that the roots snapped and the two teeth beside them are badly chipped. I was brought to the hospital and then transferred to the proper medical scored facility. While there, my two front teeth were pulled because they were dying and there was no saving them, and the other ones were left in my mouth.
The dental staff assured me that they would provide me with partial dentures, because now it was difficult to eat much of anything. I waited almost 6 months, sent about 8 kites to dental, with one response of "You will be seen soon, thank you for your patience!"
At this point, I filed a medical habeas (which is now null and void because I was just released on parole) and also an injury claim for dental implants and pain and suffering. My mother (thank god for her) is now going to have to pay for dental veneer implants, which will be about $8,000.
I'm seeking $20,000 for the injury claim. Does this sound reasonable? I have really no experience in this stuff and was guided by a fellow inmate well versed in this field, who assured me I would be awarded the full $20,000. What can I do to strengthen my claim and win just compensation for this? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Had seizure while incarcerated, fell face first and broke front teeth...":
Alex (Tolland, CT):
By Connecticut statute, state employees and officers are NOT liable for injuries caused within the scope of their employment or by the discharge of their duties, as long as the actions or omissions which led to the injury were not wanton, reckless, or malicious.
In most cases, claims for compensation filed by inmates against the state will be barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity is a judicial doctrine preventing the government or its political subdivisions, departments, and agencies from being sued without its consent.
As a result, personal injury claims filed by inmates, or by persons who were incarcerated when an injury occurred, will normally be summarily dismissed by the court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
However, there is a way to have your claim heard under an exception to sovereign immunity. To do so you must first file a claim with the State of Connecticut Claims Commissioner. By doing so you may receive permission to bring your claim under an exception from sovereign immunity.
Because you are on parole we will presume you were incarcerated in a state penitentiary and not a county facility. On your claim for money damages against the state you must first seek a Waiver from the Connecticut Claims Commissioner before bringing your claim in Superior Court.
To begin your claim, you must file with the Office of the Claims Commissioner a Notice of Claim, in duplicate, containing the following information:
- Your name and address
- The name and address of your attorney (if you decide to retain an attorney)
- A concise statement of the basis of your claim, including the date, time, place and circumstances of the act or event complained of
- A statement of the amount of compensation you are demanding
- A request for permission to sue the state if your claim is denied
For more information on Notice of Claim see:
Connecticut General Statute Section 4-147
Connecticut General Statute Chapter 53 - Claims Against the State
To request the appropriate forms to file a claim with the Claims Commissioner, as well as finding answers to the procedural aspects of your claim, go to the Office of Claims Commissioner.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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