Skip to navigation
Counsel That You Can Trust & Depend On

Two Things You Must Be Able To Show In a Deliberate Indifference Claim | Guy S. DiMartino DC, JD, PA

Guy DiMartino June 6, 2013

Your family member is a prisoner, and he or she keeps complaining that they are not getting proper medical attention and their civil rights are being violated.

There are elements that must be proved in a deliberate indifference claim, and these are number one, an objective, serious medical condition. Objective means that it is a condition or diagnosis that is serious in and of itself. Courts defined objective serious medical condition as:

A medical condition that has been diagnosed by a doctor that requires treatment or the condition is so obvious that a non-doctor should know that the person needs to see a doctor.

Courts have said a broken bone, heart attack and some types of hernias meet the definition of “OBJECTIVE”.

The second element is even more important, and that is that the healthcare provider knew of the condition and intentionally refused or delayed treatment, which means they appreciated the risk of non-treatment and just said, “H-E-L-L with it.” In legal terms, courts have said:

A plaintiff must provide evidence that an official actually knew of and disregarded a substantial risk of harm.

In other words, the prison guard, warden, doctor, nurse practitioner, or physicians assistant actually appreciated the danger and the risk , and did nothing about the condition. Simple negligence or medical malpractice is not enough.