Lawsuits for medical neglect in prison can have multiple defendants. Many jails contract their medical care to private entities. Inmates who suffered from medical neglect can sue the prison, these medical entities, prison guards and any employee involved with denying them adequate health care.
Under the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, prisoners are protected from cruel and unusual punishment. This includes denial of certain medical services. Inmates can sue under Section 1983 for damages as well as under state laws. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees due process to pretrial detainees, including access to adequate medical services and care. Depending on the injuries and severity of medical needs that were denied, inmates can be awarded considerable damages.
Proving a prison medical neglect claim once involved showing deliberate indifference on the part of prison employees or officials. This meant they actively knew of the risk for the inmate by failing to provide medical treatment, by providing inadequate medical treatment, or by delaying treatment, but continued to deny treatment anyway.