How Can You File a Lawsuit on Behalf of Someone in Prison?

How Can You File a Lawsuit on Behalf of Someone in Prison?

If someone hurts your loved one in prison, you might want to sue on their behalf. But in most cases, you cannot file a lawsuit on behalf of someone in prison.

Who can file a lawsuit if a prisoner gets injured?

In most cases, only the injured person can file a lawsuit. The main exception is if the person is dead or unable to sue. Because of these rules, you usually cannot file a lawsuit on behalf of someone in prison.

Most prisons have their own administrative remedy policies. This means that incarcerated people can request a formal review of issues related to their confinement. A prisoner can request administrative remedy on their own behalf, but not on behalf of a fellow person in prison.

The injured personneeds to complete the administrative remedy steps to try solving the problem internally. They can only file a lawsuit once they have completed these steps. Otherwise, a judge will reject their claim.

But you can still help your loved one file their lawsuit. It is harder to gather information inside prison than outside of prison. Plus, you can help your loved one prepare their case so they can file it.

Photo of someone planning to file a lawsuit on behalf of another person in prison.
Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

What can you do to help a loved one file a lawsuit from prison?

You’ll find a few ways in which you can help your loved one file their lawsuit:

  • Learn the laws and policies. Because you have access to more resources, you can probably get more information than your loved one can. Help your loved one by learning the laws and procedures so you can assist them with their case.
  • Help them get organized. If your loved one plans to file a lawsuit from prison, they will need to carefully organize their case. You can help by keeping copies of paperwork using a clear system. Maintaining good records with details and evidence is important for the steps the lawsuit will go through.
  • Gather forms. Your loved one should have access to the forms they need in prison, but sometimes they don’t. You can help your loved one get the forms they need to file their lawsuit.
  • Write to your congressperson. Your congressperson’s office has an ombudsman who helps people deal with the government. The ombudsman might use their authority to help move the lawsuit forward.
  • Send money for legal help in the prison. Many prisons have a “jailhouse lawyer.” This is a prisoner who helps others with legal issues. They often have no formal legal experience, but they can be very helpful with legal issues. Sometimes they will work for a small fee paid to their commissary account. If you send money to your loved one, they can pay the jailhouse lawyer for help.
Photo of someone planning to file a lawsuit on behalf of another person in prison.
Image courtesy of RODNAE Productions from Pexels.

The Takeaway:

In most cases, you cannot sue on behalf of a loved one in prison. Unless the prisoner is dead or unable to sue, only they can typically file a lawsuit for their own injury. But by learning the procedures and getting legal help, you can assist them with their lawsuit.

Interested in finding legal resources that can help you in prison? Trying to determine whether you can talk to your loved one’s lawyers about their case? Stay tuned to How To Justice for more info about the prison system.

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