Visitor Question

Inmate not receiving quality medical care, what can be done?

Submitted By: Anonymous (AZ)

My husband was working for wild land fire crew while incarcerated in AZ. On the way back to Florence on Hwy 79 he was involved in a roll over accident. There are many aspects involved in this case…

*He was injured through no fault of his own.

*He has not received standard medical care since the accident. He has sets of x-rays showing an injured transverse process and was treated for about a week for vertigo, yet his symptoms still present.

Joe filed a grievance shortly after the accident asking for further testing to properly evaluate and treat the injured site, which has yet to happen, but we have 4 sets of x-rays showing the injury (but the x-ray does not show the full effect of the injury because of the fractured transverse process). He has not received medication in compliance since this all started and even previously for his behavioral health diagnosis and blood pressure.

There are others who were seriously injured (skin graph, stitches) and one guy has three broken vertebrae in his neck (my husband was in the seat between these two other injured inmates).

I understand my husband is an inmate and his choices got him the consequences of becoming state property. This does not mean because he is state property that the details above are acceptable and he should suffer emotionally, mentally and physically. And personally I believe, by the facts I’ve seen and read, that this accident involves negligence by the driver and foul play (lying on the report on how accident occurred). And yet my husband can’t receive adequate medical, WHAT?

I’ve got all records AZ Department of Corrections wants me to have (medical correspondence) from the accident on 9-11-2013. My next move is a second opinion from an outside neurological and spinal doctor. Joe is still in pain, medical staff is not abiding by doctor’s orders, and untrained spinal injury medical staff are trying to have Joe do exercises that are creating convulsions.

What can be done about all this?

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 Anonymous,

You and your husband can file a complaint with the Maricopa County Sheriffs Department. To contact them go to You can also request a complaint form by calling 602-876-0322. If you’re not satisfied with the complaint process, you and your husband can seek the advice and counsel of a personal injury attorney with experience in government tort claims. In most cases, governmental agencies are insulated from legal liability under the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity.

Even though the Maricopa Sheriffs Department is protected by sovereign immunity, there is still an avenue through which an injury claim can be filed. Doing so requires filing a timely Tort Claim action. In the State of Arizona the deadline for filing a Tort Claim for a personal injury is two years from the date of the injury. Additionally, to legitimatize your claim you must give notice of your intent to file a Tort Claim within 90 days of the bus rollover.

Finally, if the bus was owned by a private company and was contracted out to the Maricopa Sheriffs Department, you will likely not have to file a tort claim action, and instead may proceed with a personal injury claim directly against the private company.

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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