By Mark Anderson. Last Updated 18th March 2021. Welcome to our guide, which focuses on prison injury compensation. Prisons can be dangerous places for both prison officers and staff and the inmates being held there. Due to the nature of the environment and some of the people being held there, there is some risk of people suffering injuries.
However, just because the environment may pose certain risks doesn’t mean it is acceptable for you to suffer a prison injury. You could be entitled to make inmate compensation claims if you are injured because the prison and its staff failed to protect you, even if you were injured while serving a prison sentence.
Legal Helpline could help you to make a claim for prison injury compensation. And we can also handle prison officer injury compensation claims. This guide is intended to explain the basics of what you need to know about how injuries can occur in prison when they could justify a compensation claim and how our panel of personal injury solicitors could help you seek compensation.
Jump To A Section
- A Guide To Claiming Compensation For A Prison Injury
- What Is A Prison Injury?
- Statistics – Prison Accidents, Injuries And Assaults
- The Effect Of Staffing Numbers On Prison Safety
- Prison Violence And Staffing Levels
- Trip And Fall Accidents In A Prison
- Prison Injury Claims For Accidents Involving Prison Officers And Staff
- Prison Injury Claims For Accidents Involving Inmates
- Compensation Calculator For Prison Injury Claims
- Special Damages You Could Claim
- Steps To Take If Injured In A Prison
- How Legal Helpline Could Help You Make A Personal Injury Claim
- No Win, No Fee Claims For Prison Injury Compensation
- Begin A Prison Injury Claim
- Prison Accident And Injury Resources
You might have some confusion about your rights to seek compensation if you have been injured in prison. If you are a staff member, you may be wondering if such incidents could be deemed your employer’s fault. If you are (or were) an inmate, you may be wondering if you would even have the right to seek compensation from HM Prison Service.
This guide serves to answer your questions and concerns. We will go over what kind of incident could constitute grounds for making a claim against HM Prison Service and under what circumstances. We will explain how this applies to both staff and inmates who have been injured.
You will also learn what kind of steps you could take to improve your chances of making a successful claim, how you could make a claim without financial risk, and how working with Legal Helpline could give you the edge in your case. If there is anything else you want to know that isn’t included in this guide, or if you decide that you want to make a personal injury claim, then call our team of advisors using the contact details at the bottom of the page.
Prisons can be violent and dangerous places, not just because of the offenders locked up there but also because of the more mundane day-to-day accident hazards that all workplaces and public places can pose, such as tripping hazards and unsafe furnishings and equipment. If you are working in prison, or if you are serving time for an offence you committed, then HM Prison Service has a responsibility to keep you safe from preventable harm. If an injury occurs as a result of a failure by the prison service, then you could be entitled to receive compensation. Various circumstances can lead to people getting hurt while they are inside a prison:
- Prisoners being assaulted by other prisoners;
- Members of staff being assaulted by prisoners;
- Prisoners engaging in acts of self-harm or attempting suicide;
- Accidents occurring, such as slips and trips, caused by the unsafe and poorly maintained condition of the prison.
As the next three sections will outline, the UK prison system is currently undergoing a surge in violence against both staff and prisoners. The current unsafe conditions of many UK prisons means that incidences of people suffering injuries are becoming more common. Many of these incidents could be linked to failures by HM Prison Service to keep their staff and inmates safe. This is particularly the case given there is a direct correlation between a fall in the number of staff in the prison service and the increase in violent incidents. But this could lead to an increase in claims for prison injury compensation.
The UK prison system is facing a crisis of violence and physical harm. Statistics show that the level of violence and prisoners’ self-harming has increased dramatically in recent years. For instance, in the year up to March 2009, there were 3,191 assaults on prison staff recorded. But in the year ending March 2020, there were 9,784 recorded incidents of assaults on prison staff. That’s an increase of more than 300% over the course of eleven years.
During that same time, 31,568 assaults were committed by prisoners on other prisoners. Self-harming rates among prisoners have also gotten much worse. Recorded incidents of self-harm reached an all-time high of 64,552 during the same 12-month period.
As a statement from the Prison Reform Trust put it, prisons are currently “less safe than they have been at any point since records began”. With prisons becoming an increasingly dangerous and unsafe place to work and be incarcerated, it is more crucial now than ever to know your rights when the prison service has failed their duty of care by putting your health and safety at risk. That includes being open to making inmate compensation claims if the evidence is there.
The number of prison officers has fallen quite dramatically since 2010. Between 2010 and 2016, the number of prison officers in the UK has fallen from around 25,000 to around 19,000. Government figures show that this is a reduction of roughly a quarter in just six years. This has not been without consequence. As the statistics in the other section show, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of violent incidents in prisons at that time. As of 2017, the government has hastily reversed spending and staffing cuts in the prison service to address this issue by providing more officers. Even so, prison injury compensation claims remain a frequent occurrence.
There is a direct correlation between the rise in prison violence and the fall in the number of prison officers. With less staff to operate them, prisons are becoming increasingly dangerous, not only for inmates but also for staff. This represents a failure by the government and the prison service to keep people safe. You may find yourself needing the services of prison injury solicitors if you work or have previously served in prison. This could allow you to claim for prison officer injury compensation.
Trips, slips, and falls may sound like a trivial type of accident to mention in the context of being injured while serving time or working at a prison. Still, they can cause potentially serious injuries, such as skull or bone fractures, soft tissue injuries and organ damage. Particularly if the victim hits an object on their way down or if they fall down the stairs as a result of tripping or slipping.
Slips and trips can be caused by:
- Spillages and leakages that have not been cleared up
- Debris and rubbish that has not been cleaned.
- Icy patches of floor outside.
- Sections of flooring, such as lino or carpet, being in a state of disrepair.
Both staff and inmates have a right to an environment kept safe from these kinds of hazards. They could be entitled to make a personal injury claim if they suffer such an accident. For more details about how slip, trip, and fall claims work, you can read our guide to them here.
The harsh truth is that being a prison officer comes with inherent risks. HM Prison Service cannot predict the behaviour or actions of every prisoner down to the last detail, so there will always be a chance of a prisoner suddenly becoming violent and inflicting an injury unexpectedly. Such risks come with the job, but as your employer, HM Prison Service has a duty of care to you and is responsible for doing everything in their power to keep you safe. If they are proven to have failed to keep you safe by failing to meet this responsibility, they could be liable in a compensation claim.
There are several ways in which failures by the prison services could lead to prison staff suffering injuries.
- Failing to prevent slips and trips through proper maintenance.
- Failing to provide adequate levels of staff.
- Failing to perform risk assessments
- Failing to ensure the correct level of security for inmates with known records of violence.
- Failing to provide proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
Allowing you to suffer a preventable injury would also violate your rights as an employee under the Health And Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. If you are a prison officer and have suffered an injury, you could have the right to make a prison injury compensation claim through Legal Helpline. If you want to learn more about how making a work injury claim against your employer works, you can read our guide to workplace injury claims here.
Even if you were/are an offender serving a sentence, you still have the right to be kept safe from preventable accidents and violent incidents. Prison staff are tasked with ensuring the safety of you and other inmates. If HM Prison Service fails to meet this responsibility, then you could be entitled to make a personal injury claim. Some of the ways that an inmate could be harmed as a failure to ensure their safety include:
- Failure to prevent fights, assaults, and riots.
- Failure to assess and monitor inmates mental health and prevent self-harm.
- Failure to maintain the prison environment to a safe standard.
If you have been injured while serving time in prison and you believe it was a result of a failure on the part of HM Prison Service, get in touch with us and discuss your situation with our team of legal advisors.
Until we have discussed in detail what your injury was and how it happened, we could not say what amount of prison injury compensation you might be entitled to. But we can give you an idea with the table below. This personal injury claims calculator shows the value (roughly at least) of a range of some of the different potential injuries that might occur in prison. These values reflect the severity of the injury, the length of the recovery, and the degree of the impact on the patient’s mental and physical health in the future.
Injury Notes Compensation
Severe psychiatric damage Cases of psychiactric trauma where, even wit treatment, there is little chance of a recovery back to a normal state. £51,460 to £108,620
Moderately severe psychiatric damage Cases of psychiatric damage which would have long lasting effects and prevent a return to previous employment. £17,900 to £51,460
Moderate psychiatric damage Cases where the trauma is severe, but not permanent as with previous categories. £5,500 to £17,900
Less severe psychiatric damage Cases where the lasting damage is minor. £1,440 to £5,500
Severe PTSD Cases which prevent the affected person from living a normal life in any aspect. £56,180 to £94,470
Moderately severe PTSD Cases where there can be a recovery with treatment. £21,730 to £56,180
Moderate PTSD Cases where the person affected makes a mostly full recovery and any lingering effects are not debilitating. £7,680 to £21,730
Less severe PTSD Where a full recovery is made within 1-2 years and there are little if any lingerng effects. £3,710 to £7,680
Total loss of one eye Loss of any eye due to an accident or assault £51,460 to £61,690
Total loss of one eye and reduced vision in the other Same as above, but with additional damage to the remaining eye as well. £60,010 to £99,440
It’s important to remember that these figures are estimates only. The value of any case is dependent upon its unique set of facts. Call us today to get a more precise valuation.
Sometimes suffering an injury brings a series of financial losses and expenses, which can be just as detrimental as the injury itself. Thankfully, it’s possible to recover these costs as part of the claim under special damages. Examples of the types of expenses you can recover include:
- Loss of earnings as a result of time off work;
- Loss of future earnings if your injuries are serious enough to prevent you from returning to work;
- Prescription and medication costs, or other treatment costs such as physiotherapy or counselling;
- Care costs if you require help while recovering from your injuries;
- Cancelling plans which you had already paid for, such as holidays.
All these expenses, and expenses like them, could be compensated financially if you can provide proof that you spent them as a result of your injury. So make sure you keep all your receipts and paperwork from them as evidence.
There are certain things you can do that could provide extra weight to your claim and improve your chances of receiving prison injury compensation.
- Write down notes of what happened in as much detail as soon as you can;
- Ask other people who witnessed the incident to provide statements in support of your claim;
- Take photographs of the place where the injury occurred, what caused it and of your injury (if possible);
- Report the incident to the prison so that the injury is noted in the prison’s accident book;
- Talk to a specialist solicitor from our panel for advice.
We can provide advice, not just through guides such as this one, but also through having a conversation over the phone with you. Just call us using the contact details at the bottom of this page. We can also provide you with an experienced personal injury solicitor who can handle your case. Having a good personal injury lawyer is crucial to winning compensation. You can rely on their legal knowledge and trust them to handle the different tasks of making a personal injury claim, such as gathering evidence and calculating your compensation. All of the solicitors on our panel strive to ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible and will update you every step of the way, so you’ll know your claim is in good hands.
Our panel of solicitors can give you the option of entering into a No Win No Fee agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). The CFA is designed to offer claimants financial protection and the confidence to pursue justice. If you sign a CFA with a solicitor from our panel, you will not have to pay any fees upfront, nor will you have to pay any fees during your claim either. And if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay any of the fees your solicitor has incurred in pursuing your case.
If your claim is successful, your solicitor may seek a small contribution towards their costs. This is known as a ‘success fee’ and would be deducted from the compensation awarded at the end of the claim. Don’t worry; the success fee is legally capped and will be agreed upon with you before the claim begins.
If you want to begin a prison injury compensation claim with Legal Helpline, your first step should call our personal injury claim experts. You can reach them on 0161 696 9685 or by requesting a phone call at a time convenient for you via this page. You have nothing to lose and much to gain, so give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you!
Prison Injury Compensation FAQs
Could a prisoner sue the prison?
Anyone in a prison, whether as an inmate or a member of staff, could sue the prison. But there are additional steps for inmates to filing a claim as covered during the guide.
But could you sue if you get hurt in jail?
If you’re hurt in jail, then you could file a claim against those in charge. But it’s imperative to gather sufficient evidence to support your claim.
Could I make a claim for an overly long jail sentence?
If authorities ignore a release date for a prisoner, the inmate could file a suit against them. This is especially noteworthy if the inmate is already the recipient of violence during their time in jail.
Do prisons have a duty of care to inmates?
Everybody associated with HM Prison Service, including staff, have a duty of care to inmates. This includes to protect them from harm from either fellow inmates or their colleagues. A claim is a possibility if there is a breach of this duty.
HM Prison Service, prison governors and directors, and all members of prison staff owe a duty of care to protect prisoners from personal injury and harm, including from abuse and neglect. This duty extends to taking appropriate and proportionate action to protect prisoners.
Guide by JY
Edited by REG
Thank you for reading our guide all about prison injury compensation.