Visitor Question

Hearing loss after complaints of ear pain ignored by guards…

Submitted By: Robert (Marathon, FL)

While I was incarcerated in a Monroe County FL jail, I had an ear infection that the guards completely ignored, even though I complained about the pain and asked to be brought to the ER. I was told that since I was still breathing it must be okay.

The following day my eardrum burst, blood and pus poured from my ear and the pain was excruciating. I was then brought to the sick bay and given a Tylenol. A few days later the blood was still coming out of my ear, as was the pus, and they finally brought me to an ear specialist. He put me on antibiotics and I was under his care for two months.

The end result is that I now have 70% hearing loss in that ear, and I need surgery as the drum never healed. Had they taken me to the ER and given me antibiotics, the eardrum would not have burst and I would not have the hearing loss as a result of their negligence.

Do you think that I have a solid lawsuit that would pay for the surgery, and for pain and suffering that I have had to endure from this situation? I have been out of jail for over a year but the ear problem continues. Please advise, and thank you for your anticipated assistance.

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 Robert,

In most states, corrections officers, jails, and prisons are immune to lawsuits as a result of sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity is a legal doctrine protecting government agencies from liability for injuries caused by their employees while in the performance of their work duties.

Sometimes government agencies waive this immunity, as can be seen in Florida’s Sovereign Immunity statute Section 768.28:

“Claims and lawsuits against the state or any of its agencies or subdivisions to recover damages for injury or loss of property, personal injury, or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the agency or subdivision while acting within the scope of the employee’s work duties will be valid if a private person would be liable to the claimant under similar circumstances.”

Because of Florida’s waiver of immunity statute you may have a legitimate injury claim against the Monroe County Corrections Department.

Organize your paperwork, including copies of your medical bills and records, receipts for your out of pocket expenses, and a written verification from your employer confirming any lost wages occurring after your release from incarceration through the final medical treatment, or ongoing treatment.

Seek out our several personal injury attorneys in your area. Fortunately, most injury attorneys will not charge for initial office consultations.

After reviewing your medical records, the attorneys will be able to give you a good idea of the viability of your injury claim, the probability of settlement, and the general amount your claim may settle for.

Learn more here: Jail and Prison Inmate Injury Claims

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 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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