Employees of Texas prisons are required to run their prisons with a certain level of care and are required to do something if an inmate is in danger. A woman has recently filed a wrongful death suit against two prison employees, a sheriff and the entire county for the death of her son.
The 45-year-old Air Force veteran was being held in county jail after driving his car into a tire shop. The man was schizophrenic, and died after prison employees allowed him to beat his head against his cell wall for several days. The man suffered a blunt force trauma to the head and had bruises all over his face. The Jail Administrator and one of the jail supervisors and sergeants were charged by a grand jury for “injury to a disabled person by omission.” The case will go to trial at a later date.
The cause of action states that the employees are liable for depriving the man of his Fourteenth Amendment rights to protection against self-harm. The suit claims that prison officials and the sheriff knowingly did nothing to stop the man from killing himself. The suit also blames the county, saying that under the Rehabilitation Act, jails are required to make reasonable accommodations for disabled inmates. Counsel for the jail officials and sheriff say that they did nothing wrong with regards to the man’s death.
Wrongful death suits filed by parents of children can lead to some compensation, but typically damages will not be a large amount. Juries use life expectancy charts and earning potential to determine what the child would have contributed to the parents’ financial support. If a company is negligent or behaves inappropriately, and is responsible for a death, they will be required to pay in most cases.
Source: The Llano News, “Lawsuit Filed in Death of Llano County Inmate,” Heather Wagner, Nov. 14, 2012