Visitor Question

Compensation for head injury from a slip and fall in county jail?

Submitted By: Zena (Victorville, California)

My son slipped and fell in one of the county jails in southern California. He was walking across the dorm and there was a puddle of water without a caution sign. When he fell, he hit his head on a metal table which knocked him out.

He was taken to an outside local hospital where he was diagnosed with a head injury and several fractured ribs. There was a work order that had been in place for several weeks, and there were several witnesses, including the guard on duty.

I think my son deserves compensation for this. He still has constant headaches, as well as other bodily pains. What can he do? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Zena,

While the county may be liable for your son’s injuries, that liability will be tempered by your son’s damages. Damages can include your son’s medical or chiropractic bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

In your son’s case, because he is in jail he will likely not have any damages. The county will pay for his medical bills and medications. There aren’t any lost wages, and unless he can prove the county was grossly negligent, the county may claim sovereign immunity, and deny any amount for his pain and suffering.

Sovereign immunity protects most governmental agencies and employees from civil liability for their actions or omissions. While sovereign immunity exists, in many cases, government agencies waive that immunity.

Because of the seriousness of your son’s injuries, you might want to consider consulting with a personal injury attorney. Most will not charge for an initial office consultation. If you find an attorney who will accept your son’s case, you won’t have to pay any legal fees until, and unless the attorney settles your son’s case or wins it at trial.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: July 24, 2014

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