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Prison Injury Compensation Claims

By Emily Jones. Last Updated 27th April 2023. Accidents that result in a personal injury are quite common in a prison environment. Inmates are subject to the risk of injury, for which the prison service is responsible for guarding them against. Prison officers are also often victims of an accident at work, resulting in a personal injury.

Because of the complicated nature of accidents in a prison, especially with regards to negligence on the part of the prison service, and the subsequent liability for compensation claims, getting proper legal advice is a must if you have suffered a personal injury in prison.

Prison injury

Prisoner Injury Compensation Claims

We have developed this guide to explain how you could potentially claim if you were injured due to negligence while you were either an inmate of a prison or a prison officer on duty. Please read on to learn more about what’s involved in prisoner compensation claims and prison officer claims.

If, at any point, you want to speak to an advisor about making a prison injury claim, then you can contact Legal Expert today for help. You can call us on 0800 073 8804. Alternatively, you can contact us online using our 24/7 live chat service or by filling in our claim online form.

Select a Section:

  1. Can You Sue If You Get Hurt In Prison?
  2. What Damages Can I Claim For Through Prison Injury Claims?
  3. Claiming For An Injury As An Inmate
  4. Claiming For An Injury As A Prison Officer
  5. Payouts For Prison Injury Claims
  6. No Win No Fee Prison Law Solicitors – Claim Against A Prison

Can You Sue If You Get Hurt In Prison?

The operators of a prison service have a legal responsibility to ensure the reasonable safety of everyone within their premises. This applies to prisoners, visitors and their own members of staff. It is their responsibility to make sure that their prisons are made practically safe, and that necessary measures are in place to help deal with any hazards or dangers that exist or arise within their prisons.

This is a responsibility placed on them under both public health and safety laws (such as the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957) and workplace health and safety laws (such as the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974).

If you were injured because the operators of a prison had failed to take reasonable measures to ensure your safety, then you could be eligible to sue the prison service to claim compensation.

The following sections in our guide to prison injury claims go into more detail about prison safety and the responsibilities placed on prison services. We look at various instances in which you could be able to start a claim, such as if you were injured in an assault or suffered an injury caused by an unsafe environment.

You can also reach out to a member of our team to have a direct discussion about your accident and injury, or to learn about whether you could start a claim for your prison injury, with solicitors or legal representatives who could work with you at no upfront cost.

Prisoner Safety Statistics

Ahead of making a criminal injury compensation claim, you might be interested in knowing about safety in prisons. However, as we’ll discuss in this section, injuries in prisons may stem from an assault. In some cases, an assault claim may be possible.

According to government statistics, there were 20,872 assault incidents in prisons in England and Wales over a period of 12 months running up until September 2022. The figures indicate a rise of 11% in assault incidents compared to the previous year. In the most recent quarter, assaults were up a further 5% with a total of 5,590 incidents recorded.

If you want to know how to claim for a prison injury, whether you were a prisoner or staff, our advisors can offer you free 24/7 legal advice.

What Damages Can I Claim For Through Prison Injury Claims?

When you make a compensation claim for a prison injury, either as an inmate or a prison officer, there are two main categories of damages that you can potentially claim. These are general damages and special damages.

General damages cover all of the physical aspects of the injury that you have suffered. It takes into account the actual pain of the injury, both at the time of the injury and on an ongoing basis. It also includes any considerations such as long-term loss of function, permanent scarring, and any other negative physical factors. Mental stress and trauma are also included in general damages.

More Payouts For Prison Compensation Claims

Your claim may also include a figure known as special damages. This amount is made up of financial costs, losses, and expenses that you experience as a result of your injuries. For example, if you are a guard who has been attacked by a prisoner, your compensation claim could include a sum to cover your loss of earnings due to being unable to work while you recover.

We’ve included a few more examples of what else may be included in a claim for special damages:

  • Medical bills – Certain procedures and treatments may not be available on the NHS meaning you have to seek out private treatment. If so, the cost could be repaid to you via special damages. Additionally, you could be reimbursed for the cost of factors such as prescriptions.
  • Damage to property – For instance, you may have fallen and torn your clothes or smashed a watch or other device. The cost of the repairs or replacements could be included in your special damages payment.
  • Other expenses – If you have purchased holidays or other experiences/items that you can no longer make use of due to your injuries, you could reclaim the money you spent.

You will need evidence for all of the above. Receipts are a good example of this. Get in touch if you need more information including how to sue a prisoner.

Claiming For An Injury As An Inmate

If you are or were incarcerated in prison, and whilst you were, you suffered a personal injury that was not your own fault, you could have a valid case for making a personal injury compensation claim. Accidents happen in prison for a wide range of reason, including:

  • A slip or trip – on a wet or badly maintained floor surface whilst in prison.
    An injury in your cell – as a result of an accident caused by badly maintained or faulty furniture and fittings
  • Work accidents – injuries that are a direct result of an accident that occurred whilst you were performing work in prison.
  • Injuries sustained through assault – if you were attacked by another prisoner.
  • Medical or dental negligence – if you sustained an injury whilst receiving medical treatment or dental care whilst in prison.

The prison service has an obligation to keep inmates safe at all times. This means that you should be protected from injuries caused by accidents due to negligence on behalf of the prison operator. The prison service is also responsible for making sure you are safe from other prisoners at all times. So, if you suffer an injury whilst in prison, and it is not your fault, then we can likely help you make a personal injury compensation claim.

Claiming For An Injury As A Prison Officer

Prison officers do a tough job. They work in a harsh environment and are exposed to stressful situations almost every day. Although prison operational processes are designed to minimize the risk of injury to prison officers whilst they are at work, there are times when this is not enough, and an accident or even an assault takes place, resulting in a personal injury that may be a valid cause for a compensation claim. There is a myriad of reasons why an accident in a prison can cause a personal injury to a prison officer, and these include:

  • A slip or trip accident – caused by a damaged or badly maintained floor, or even a wet or slippery floor due to spillage.
  • Muscle strain or sprains – this includes back and spinal injuries, that are a direct result of having to carry out heavy work.
  • Assault by an inmate – injuries caused by an attack against the prison officer.

Additionally, prison officers may also be able to claim special damages as part of their personal injury compensation claim. If there has been a loss of earnings or other financial hardship encountered as a direct result of the injury.

Payouts For Prison Injury Claims

When you are making a claim for your prison injury, you may wonder how much compensation you could receive.

Following a successful personal injury claim, you could be awarded general and special damages.

General damages compensate you for the pain and suffering you have experienced due to your injury. When valuing claims, many legal professionals will refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This document lists compensation guidelines for various types of injuries. We have used some of the amounts listed in the 16th edition of the JCG for the table below.

However, it is important to note that all prisoner compensation claims will be valued on a case-by-case basis. Meaning the compensation you could receive may be affected by the specific factors of your claim. As such, please only use this table as a guide.

Head InjuryModerate (c) (i)A moderate to severe intellectual deficit accompanied by a change in personality and an effect on the senses.£150,110 to £219,070
Head InjuryMinor (e)Brain damage, if any, is minimal. £2,210 to £12,770
Hand InjuryTotal or Effective Loss of Both Hands (a)Damage to both hands is extensive and rendering them little more than useless. £140,660 to £201,490
Arm InjurySevere (a)Extremely serious and just falling short of amputation e.g. a brachial plexus injury.£96,160 to £130,930
Arm InjuryInjuries Resulting in Permanent and Substantial Disablement (b)One or both forearms are seriously fractured and the residual disability is permanent. £39,170 to £59,860
Foot InjuryVery Severe (c)Pain is permanent and severe, e.g. a traumatic forefoot amputation. £83,960 to £109,650
Eye InjuryComplete Loss of Sight in One Eye (e)A risk of sympathetic ophthalmia is considered and a higher award is appropriate if there is scarring in the region of the eye.£49,270 to £54,830
Eye InjuryMinor (h)Being struck in the eye, fume exposure or splashes of liquid causing pain and temporary vision interference. £3,950 to £8,730
Leg InjurySevere (b) (iv)Multiple or complicated fractures, crushing injuries, usually involving a single limb. £27,760 to £39,200
Leg InjuryLess Serious (c) (i)Fractures from which an incomplete recovery is made, such as being left with a limp or defective gait. £17,960 to £27,760

Special damages compensate you for the financial losses you have suffered due to your injury. For example, if you’ve had to pay for prescriptions due to your injury, these costs could be compensated under special damages. However, you will need to provide evidence about these losses, such as bank statements or invoices.

To learn more about making a claim for prison compensation, please get in touch with our team.

No Win No Fee Prison Law Solicitors – Claim Against A Prison

As our guide has shown, a prison must be made practically safe for the people who use it. If you suffered an injury, because this duty of care was breached – whether as a prisoner, a member of staff or even as a visitor – then you may be eligible to claim against a prison service for negligence.

There are prison law solicitors who can help you claim under a Conditional Fee Agreement. This is a No Win No Fee arrangement. The general terms that tend to be offered in such an agreement is that you would not:

  • Pay a hiring fee for a solicitor’s services
  • Make any ongoing payments for their work as your claim progresses
  • Have to make a payment in an unsuccessful claim

A solicitor may charge you a success fee in a successful claim. This is a percentage of your compensation award with a legal cap in place.

A solicitor’s help and expertise can be hugely beneficial in a claim. If you were injured in a prison and would like to learn more about how you could work with a No Win No Fee solicitor to claim against a prison service, then please reach out to a member of our team by:

Other Guides You May Find Useful

We hope this guide on prison injury compensation claims has proven useful. Here at Legal Expert, we have advisors available to contact online or on the phone. You are welcome to get in touch with us if you have any questions related to these types of claims or you are looking for support in starting a valid prison injury claim. You can reach us by using the contact details included in this guide.

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.