When we think about personal injury cases, the thoughts that come to mind are usually related to car accidents or premises liability incidents. These are everyday occurrences that unfortunately leave innocent victims injured. But it’s also important to remember that those that are not so innocent, at least in the criminal system’s eyes, have the same rights to safety as the general public. We’re talking about inmates in prisons and jails like the one on Rikers Island.
Every year, many individuals get hurt while in jail and their pain and suffering matters just as much as anybody else. They may be in jail for a conviction, but they also deserve to feel safe. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. In fact, statistics show that the number of personal injury claims filed against New York City for injuries that happen in the jail system keeps increasing year to year.
In fiscal year 2010, there were 1,204 claims. Then in 2014 there were 2,245 personal injury claims. When it came to fiscal year 2015, which concluded at the end of June of that year, there were 2,846 claims. That’s an increase of 27 percent from the previous year. The fiscal year that started this past July is already showing signs that the trend will continue.
When it comes to judgments or settlements, the city paid $13.1 million in fiscal year 2015 in cases related to deaths or injuries. Three of those cases involved men who died while at Rikers. Each of these cases resulted in payouts of more than $1 million.
In our next post we will continue this discussion and take a look at the types of injuries that occur in New York City correctional facilities.