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What is deliberate indifference according to 42 U.S.C. 1983?

If you are wanting to sue a government official for violating your civil rights, you must prove that the government official acted with deliberate indifference. This article attempts to demonstrate how the federal court in Illinois and across the states than encompass the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals have interpreted the term deliberate indifference. If you or your loved one has had their Constitutional Rights violated, contact our civil rights lawyers today for a free initial consultation at (217) 414-8889.

Deliberate Indifference

Deliberate indifference is the prevailing standard required to demonstrate that prison officials (or jailors) violated an individual’s Constitutional Rights. It is most common in Failure to Provide Medical Treatment cases. However, it has also been used in jail suicides, municipality liability and failure to protect claims.

Deliberate indifference, in its essence, attempts to define conduct which is more than simple negligence. In fact, the Seventh Circuit has held that negligence is not enough to violate the Constitution and it is not enough that the defendant should have known about a risk. Haley v. Gross, 86 F.3d 630 (1996). Instead, deliberate indifference requires evidence that an official actually knew of a substantial risk of serious harm and consciously disregarded it nonetheless. Knowledge of a risk can be shown if an official was exposed to information from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk exists, and he or she also draws the inference. Proffitt v. Ridgway, 279 F.3d 503, 506 (7th Cir.2002); Mayoral v. Sheahan, 245 F.3d 934, 938-39 (7th Cir.2001).

Deliberate Indifference can manifest itself in a number of way.For example, the failure to provide adequate medical treatment may support a claim for deliberate indifference where a prison or jail official has actual knowledge (or should have knowledge) of a serious medical need. This obligations stems from the fact that an inmate or pre-trial detainee cannot obtain medical treatment on their own without the assistance of prison authorities.

If you or your loved one believes that they may have a claim for deliberate indifference, contact our lawyers today at (217) 414-8889.

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