Visitor Question

Refused treatment for injured hand in detox and county jail…

Submitted By: Bryce (Minnesota)

A woman started punching me multiple times and messed up my face real good. I don’t hit women so I punched her boyfriend because he wasn’t stopping her. The police took me to jail without bringing me and my busted hand to the hospital. I went straight to detox. The police didn’t bring me to get my hand x-rayed or treated, and they even tried to convince me there was nothing the hospital could do.

I sat in detox nearly 38 hrs like that and then Washington county jail came to pick me up. I thought they’d bring me to the hospital before jail but they did not. My hand was VERY swollen and painful. They did not let me see a nurse or get an ice pack, the nurse straight up ignored me.

After nearly 4 hrs I was made to finger print myself after FINALLY receiving an ice pack. Later at 9:15pm I was released due to my 48 hr hold expiring, instead of being held waiting for a bail hearing. I didn’t get may hand x-rayed or treated until the next morning.

Aren’t they negligent for not treating my hand? They didn’t do anything but give my an ice pack after 2 days!

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 Bryce,

The State of Minnesota, its sheriff’s deputies, police officers, and jailers are protected from civil claims and lawsuits under the doctrine of “sovereign immunity.” Sovereign immunity basically indemnifies law enforcement personnel while on duty from claims of negligence brought by inmates. This is true even when law enforcement officials commit intentional torts while on duty.

Your facts indicate your hand was very swollen. While denying you medical care may have been questionable, it is likely your intoxication presented an issue. Absent very serious injuries, intoxicated inmates will not be placed in a position where doctors and nurses may be exposed to further acts of violence.

Your arrest for what can only be deduced as assault supports the position that the police and jailers may have thought your intoxication, coupled with your propensity for violence, outweighed the necessity to have you seen by medical personnel. It appears you don’t have the grounds for a civil claim or lawsuit based on negligence.

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 10, 2013

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