Visitor Question

Personal Injury in Jail…

Submitted By: Mona (New Jersey)

My husband injured his knee in jail while playing basketball. First of all, he was given cheap treadless sneakers to wear while in there. I brought his good sneakers but they were rejected for not being brand new. After that, I had to wait until the following week to bring another package. After being in lockdown for 5 days, he came out and the first day out played basketball, slipped and fell, and injured his knee.

He had surgery thereafter and was to start physical therapy. Instead, he was transferred to state prison for processing. Ironically, even though he is in full leg brace, he came to the prison with no medical records.

We believe this constitutes negligence on the part of the jail. That even if he played the game voluntarily, he couldn’t have known how bad those sneakers were AND should not have been shipped off to prison w/o some follow-up as to his care.

Instead, the prison had to fish for his records and he is still waiting over a month after being transferred for his physical therapy. Is this negligence or not? And if my husband was in lockdown all week, is this an example of assumption of risk or not?

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 Mona,

First off, the sneakers are a non-issue. The fact that he voluntarily played basketball in the sneakers in his possession is not something that the jail is liable for as there is no negligence there. As to their failure to provide him with adequate medical care while incarcerated, this is definitely a negligence cause of action against both the county jail in which he was housed as well as the state prison where he is currently.

What you need to do is file an administrative claim within 6 months of the injury with both the county and the state. Once you get word from them regarding whether they are accepting or rejecting the claim, you would then proceed to file a claim in state court.

Additionally, there is a process for your husband to complete in prison to put the prison on notice of his claim for damages. Failure to do any of these administrative steps could reduce or completely limit your ability to pursue a claim.

Learn more here: Jail Conditions and Prison Injuries

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!


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