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Deliberate Indifference and Broken Bones

A common scenario that I see with potential deliberate indifference claims have to do with fractures. The prison healthcare providers think the inmate is faking the condition and turn their backs on clear signs and symptoms of a broken bone. 

Filing a deliberate indifference claim for a serious medical need is difficult. The standard is much higher than typical negligence and requires close to intentional conduct on behalf of the prison guard or healthcare provider. The burden on the prisoner is to show two things: 1) that they have an objective serious medical condition, and the more difficult burden is 2) showing that the doctor or nurse appreciated the risk of not treating the condition and still did nothing. This requires getting into the doctor or nurse's head.

Fortunately we can use circumstantial evidence to meet this burden and one of the ways that we do that is we're able to look at cases throughout the country to find cases that are factually similar to your case and see how the courts have ruled. 

A Deliberate Indifference Claim for a Fractured Bone 

There is no dispute that a broken bone is a serious medical ends. These cases turn on the length of time it takes to get treatment for the fracture. We are in Florida so we are governed by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 11th Circuit has told us that a six-hour delay for a broken foot is sufficient for a deliberate indifference claim. So we know that six hours is a benchmark whether it's five or four hours or seven hours or something like that will really depend upon the specific facts and circumstances of your case. If you have any questions about a Florida deliberate indifference claim, you can always give me a call. 

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